Supergreens and superfoods in general are getting plenty of media hype… and quite rightly so. Supergreens contain antioxidants, enzymes, and phytonutrients which pack a real nutritional punch. Let’s have a look at why they really do work to alleviate the physical stress of exercise.
What are antioxidants?
Chemical reactions constantly occur in your body, which generates the energy you require to sustain yourself on a daily basis. These chemical reactions often release toxic by-products (free radicals) that can cause fatigue, damage muscles and impair recovery.
During exercise, you create greater amounts of energy and therefore more free radicals are released in your system which can delay recovery and hinder your performance.
For a long time now, sports enthusiasts have been aware of the deleterious effects of these free radicals. In an effort to combat these effects, the use of antioxidant supplements became common practice among athletes.
Do antioxidants really help?
While scientific studies (1) have suggested that taking antioxidants might actually reduce the oxidative stress response to exercise and so cause less muscle and cellular damage and lead to faster recovery, experts are now questioning the value of taking antioxidant supplements (2,3,4).
Scientists now appreciate that the presence of free radicals in response to exercise is actually the driver for your body’s positive adaption to exercise (3). Gradually, your body learns to overcome the negative impact of antioxidants and through that process is able to tolerate longer and harder exercise sessions. Taking traditional antioxidant supplements can actually blunt this favourable adaption to exercise.
The emergence of Supergreens (with natural sources of antioxidants):
Since we now realize that a certain amount of oxidative stress is required to adapt to exercise and improve from it, the value of taking pure antioxidant supplements has come under some scrutiny. Experts advocate ingesting your antioxidants from “real food” sources. There are a few things to consider when including antioxidants in a well balanced diet (4)
- Sourcing foods high in antioxidant nutrients: It can be difficult to find food high in relevant antioxidant nutrients, especially since mineral depletion in soils is becoming a global phenomenon. Supplementation can help ensure you are getting the intake you require when training.
- Timing of the antioxidant dose: It is not recommended to take antioxidant supplements during and directly after training, as this is when the majority of oxidative stress occurs which contributes to exercise adaption.
- Poor food availability: Supplementation can be worthwhile when travelling or on caloric restrictions.
What are Supergreens?
Supergreens have fast superseded antioxidants as a nutritional mainstay. There is growing recognition on a global scale of the failing nutritional content of our food, especially with the worldwide trend of mineral depletion in soils (5). Supergreens are regarded as the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, and so offer a solution to keep your body healthy and ward off disease. They offer a more holistic approach to nutritional supplementation because they not only provide you with a source of antioxidants but also a host of other nutritional elements.
While spinach, kale and broccoli are well-established as staple greens, ‘supergreens’ refers to a small group of greens from the algae and young cereal grass families. These are harvested when the grasses and algae are at their peak nutritional content, in the early stages of their growth. They are then dried at low temperatures and typically powdered (6). The most common types of supergreens are grasses (such as wheat, barley and alfalfa grass) and Algaes (such as Spirulina and Chorella).
Why are Supergreens some of the most nutritious foods on the planet?
Supergreens have a host of benefits, much more than simply antioxidants, such as: (7):
- High in phytonutrients: contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which protect against cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, and cancer
- Good source of fibre: support a healthy colon, clear cholesterol from your bloodstream, and speed digestion
- Provide digestive enzymes: help your body to absorb other nutrients, including proteins
- Heal tissues: potentially stimulate the growth of new skin tissue in wounds
- Good source of calcium: your body can absorb more calcium from most greens than it can from dairy products (8)
What is so special about Bindi Supergreens?
Bindi’s Supergreen formula is a balance of superfruits, greens and antioxidants. Supergreen powders can often taste ‘earthy’ or bitter, however we have an amazing blend with cranberry flavour which means you can drink it daily just with water, or add it to smoothies or juices. Our Bindi’s greens superfood blend contains:
- a freshwater blue-green algae that occurs naturally in lakes
- contains a very high amount of naturally occurring protein (about 60% by dry weight)
- rich in beta-carotene, vitamin K, iron
- a potent source of, phycocyanin, an antioxidant that has been shown to halt the spread of cancerous cells
- high in essential amino acids, enzymes and vitamins C, K and E, as well as the minerals, iron, calcium and magnesium
- generally regarded as a very powerful antioxidant
- Composed of 70% chlorophyll, which has strong antioxidant and anticancer effects
- A leading source of vitamin K, which helps blood clotting
- Rich in amino acids, betacarotene, vitamin and B vitamins
- An excellent source of betacarotene
- Rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron
- Primarily known as a detoxifying substance
- High in chlorophyll, protein, iron, magnesium and amino acids
The nutritional powerhouse – Supergreens are your biggest ally during training:
It is remarkable how many athletes come to us with concerns about a particular carbohydrate mix or electrolyte level – all details which are important in sports nutrition. But it is often the very basics of an athlete’s diet that can be improved to the greatest effect. Using Supergreens will go a long way to support your energy levels and recovery during training. They will help combat fatigue and illness and the oxidative stresses of exercise and life in general. Athletes using Supergreens reported increased energy, reduced cravings for sweets, and an overall sense of clarity and well-being. And don’t we all want more of that!
Here’s to a healthy (green) winter,
- Schroder et al, 2000. Nutritional antioxidant status and oxidative stress in professional basketball players: Effects of a three compound antioxidant supplement. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 21: 146-150. Accessed May 2017 at: http://ow.ly/W7kL30bAbbx
- Willis B, Rethinking the role of antioxidants in sports: Six reasons to avoid taking antioxidant supplements. Accessed May 2017 at: http://www.strengthsensei.com/rethinking-the-role-of-antioxydants-in-sports/
- Merry TL and Ristow M, 2016. Do antioxidant supplements interfere with skeletal muscle adaption to exercise training? Journal of Physiology, 18: 5135-5147. Accessed May 2017 at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/JP270654/full
- Pickering C. Should athletes take antioxidant supplements? Published on Freelap. Accessed May 2017 at: https://www.freelapusa.com/should-athletes-take-antioxidant-supplements/
- Davis DR, 2009. Declining fruit and vegetable nutrient composition: What is the evidence? Horticultural Science, 44 (1): 15-19. Accessed May 2017 at: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/44/1/15.full#fn-1
Kadey M, 2012. Supergreens. Experience Life. Accessed May 2017 at: https://experiencelife.com/article/supergreens/
Garvin C, 2011. What are the benefits of supergreens? Livestrong. Accessed May 2017 at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/363954-what-are-the-benefits-of-supergreens/
Lanou J 2009. Should dairy be recommended as part of a healthy vegetarian diet? Counterpoint. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89 (5): 1638S – 1642S. Accessed May 2017 at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1638S.full