We are living in the age of Superfoods and miracle powders…
As we are living in the age of ‘miracle powders’, supplementation is fast becoming everyone’s answer to longevity, health and wellness (1). While there is a lack of scientific studies and human-trial research on Superfoods and Supergreens, they have the potential to contribute to a longer, healthier life and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Supergreens are actually surpassing the reputation of antioxidants as the nutritional powerhouse because of their ability to boost exercise tolerance and support recovery between sessions: they are your biggest ally during training.
So how do we incorporate these Supergreens into our diet? Read on for our 5 top tips on how best to use this powerhouse powder every day…
Tip #1 Don’t over indulge in Supergreens (more is not better)
More is definitely not better when it comes to Supergreens, and over-consumption can lead to some unexpected side effects of Supergreens powders.
For example, chlorella and other algae are potent mineral chelators (so-called ‘binding agents’), which are effective for heavy-metal detoxing (1). While they will rid the body of minerals associated with physical, muscular and neurological degenerative processes (which is a good thing!), they have the potential to sap your body’s stores of zinc and magnesium. This is not helpful: (1) if you are already low in these mineral elements – and many of us living in modern society actually are; and (2) if you are an athlete who actually requires an increased intake of magnesium and zinc, as these have pivotal roles in energy production and recovery (magnesium) and in tissue recovery after exercise and building lean muscle mass (zinc) (2)
Other side effects of overdosing on supergreens include sabotaging insulin sensitivity and inhibiting future muscle growth.
Tip #2 Don’t take a powder with hidden or unnecessary supplements
While Supergreen supplements might be full of concentrated fruits and vegetables, some brands will include all sorts of other ingredients such as flavour enhancers, sweeteners and preservatives. Traces of a large group of chemical contaminants are typically found in complex mixtures (3). Sometimes, caffeine is included in a powder formula, for that extra kick. Make sure your Supergreens supplement contains the essential vitamins and minerals in the levels you need for your own lifestyle, and none of the chemical extras that your body could do without.
Tip #3 Make sure it tastes good and take time to incorporate Supergreens
This one is very simple. If it tastes earthy, bitter or you have to hold your nose drinking it… then you won’t do it regularly. Make sure your Supergreens supplement is palatable. Bindi Supergreens have an amazing blend with cranberry flavor, which means you can drink it daily just with water, or simply add it to smoothies or juices. It can take some time to incorporate Supergreens into your diet if you have sensitivities (for example some athletes are sensitive to oxalates). You may find that you are sensitive to some Supergreens while others are fine, so take your time, incorporate them slowly and like any sports nutrition it can be a process trial and error to find what works best for you (4).
Tip #4 Get the timing right
Ok – this can be a game changer here. Consider your training regime, and the timing of your intake of Supergreens; because taking an antioxidant supplement during and directly after training is not recommended, as this is when the majority of oxidative stress occurs which actually over time contributes to exercise adaption. So as we aim to taken protein immediately after training, you should aim to take Supergreens at the other end of your day. One of our athletes like to add Supergreens to his nightly glass of beetroot juice before bed for a double win (recovery, nutritents, antioxidants and nitrates all in one hit – thanks Nathan for the tip!).
Tip #5 Get creative and add sneak your greens in!
Supergreens can go in just about anything. Of course you can drink them with water, in juices, or add them to a smoothie. Our local GP and his wife who are both Ironman athletes bake killer green muffins to take to work. Our nearby tea cafe adds them to bliss balls to have with a cuppa of green tea. Be adventurous, and seek out innovative ways to sneak your Supergreens in – and be sure to let us know your ideas!
The Supergreens rewards…
The daily consumption of Supergreens will truly transform the way you feel. The take-home message here is that Supergreens have enormous benefits and they have a place in every athlete’s diet. However it pays to be patient and consistent when trying something new. Take the time to understand your own requirements and preferences for incorporating supergreens into a wholesome diet.
At Bindi we recommend a balanced approach – not to rely solely on supplements but you should also strive to ingest your Supergreens with ‘real food’ sources. As athletes, we recognise that we put extraordinary stressors on our bodies, which demands that we integrate supplements in a balanced approach to replenishing our energy levels and making sure we last the distance in training and at home and work.
- Sinclair C (2014). From whey protein to spirulina: Are superfood powders set to be as popular as the Paleo diet? The Telegraph news. Accessed May 2017 at: http://ow.ly/hvou30c1jJT
- Deuster PA, Hodgson AB, Stear SJ. Burke LM, Castell LM (2013). A-Z of nutritional supplements: dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods, and ergogenic aids for health and performance: Part 46. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism, 47, pp. 809-810.
- Zelinkova Z, Wenzl T (2015). EU marker polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in food supplements: analytical approach and occurrence. Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, 32(11), pp. 1914-1926. Accessed May 2017 at: http://ow.ly/ZlzC30c1fJK
- Co-cliff A (2014). When ‘super foods’ make you sick. Accessed May 2017 at An Apple a Day at: http://anappleaday.net.au/superfoods-make-you-sick/