Posts tagged #nutrition

Pineapple = Fight Fuel

Below its spiky headdress and beneath its spiny skin, pineapple’s sweet flesh is packed with quick energy, essential vitamins, and anti-inflammatory nutrients. The only real downside that comes with pineapple is that you have to get past the spikes and spines, but it’s oh so worth it.

Besides their inherent sweetness, pineapples are loaded with a particular enzyme known as bromelain. This potent stuff is the primary reason why pineapples are helpful with reducing pain and swelling and even repairing bruises. In fact, recent research has indicated that bromelain has even more anti-inflammatory power than many over-the-counter painkillers such as Naproxen, Feldene, and Piroxicam. There’s even a study using boxers with bumps and bruises that shows that the fighters who took bromelain overwhelmingly had quicker recovery from their wounds over those who took a placebo. 

Bromelain itself is available outside the US as an OTC drug, but you can always get it from our tropical fruit friend, albeit in smaller doses. Pineapple flesh contains a fair supply of bromelain, but there’s way more in the core. So be sure to include the core if you’re making juice. You’ll get the added benefit of extra fiber and vitamins as well. Be aware, you won’t get the same benefits from canned pineapple, however, as the heat used in the canning process destroys the bromelain enzyme.

And of course you surely know how healthful vitamin C is. You know already that C gives a boost to the body’s immune system, helps repair tissues, fights off infection, and promotes healing. All this and more, and pineapples are packed with C.

For all the flavor and fun of eating pineapple, the calorie and sugar content is not too bad. Still, you can gain a lingering boost of energy that so-called energy drinks would be envious of! The fructose carbohydrates get digested and into your bloodstream fast, while the fiber of the fruit also slows digestion of the carbs, providing you sustained fuel. Additionally, thiamin and manganese, which are present in pineapples, are essential in the production of energy.

Pineapples are very easy to digest for most people and, in fact, make for a great post-meal digestif, especially after eating a protein-rich food like red meat. And pineapples are very good for you if you suffer from any digestion issues stemming from inflammation. So when you’re dining out and your entree or your guest check comes with slices of pineapple, be sure to enjoy some to complete the meal and ensure easy digestion.

Once you’ve purchased a pineapple it’s already done ripening so be sure to pick a good one in the first place. Look for green leaves - brown leaves are a sure sign of an overripe fruit - and give it a good whiff to see whether it smells sweet and pleasant (good) or pungent and sour (not good). A ripe pineapple will also feel “heavy” and the bottom should have a little give to a squeeze (but not too much…)

Since the fruit will not continue to ripen when you get it home, if you’re not planning on slicing it right away, just stick the whole thing, wrapped in plastic, in your fridge. It should keep up to about 5 days, uncut, in the fridge. After you slice the fruit into chunks it’s only good for a couple days, although you can store the pieces in the freezer for as long as 4 or 5 months. Store the chunks or slices in an airtight container with some of the juice.

Pineapples aren't just superfruit, they're superfood. Truly, these tropical grenades are exploding with nutrition! Carefully grab yourself one and feed the machine! 

Posted on September 22, 2015 .

Bananas = Fight Fuel

Nature is amazing. Take the simple banana as an example. Bananas are fortified with nutrients, packed with energy and come prepackaged in handy sets of 3, 6 or even 9. They’re a perfect snack, especially for athletes.

If you compare bananas to your average carb-laden sports drink, bananas come out far ahead in antioxidant, fiber, vitamin and mineral content. The natural sugar of bananas is also healthier than that of flavored sports drinks. And, let’s face it, bananas are a far better value overall. 

Need help sleeping? Peel a banana for a good dose of magnesium and potassium, which will relax your muscles and help you get a deeper sleep. Bananas will also help cool your core temperature, which in turn will trigger sleep sensors.

Posted on April 1, 2015 .

Pump Up Your Iron

Iron is an essential mineral for the human body. Iron is integral in transporting oxygen throughout the body and is also an important part of producing energy. Unfortunately, something like 15% of women are iron deficient. And you should note that when you engage in strenuous activity your bloodflow is increased, which subsequently depletes your iron (due to the higher turnover of red blood cells). So for a female athlete or a woman involved in strenuous activity, keeping blood enriched with iron is vitally important.

Iron exists in your bloodstream as part of an oxygen-transporting protein named Hemoglobin. Iron also exists within your muscle cells as part of Myoglobin protein which receives and stores oxygen inside muscle tissue. If your blood is deficient in iron you’re going to be having a short training day accompanied by a long recovery.

Posted on October 14, 2014 .

Pasta is Fight Fuel!

Pasta is bad for you, right? Oh, but how can something so good be bad? Well, truth is, it’s maybe not so bad. In fact, for those of us who train to fight, pasta is actually quite good. It’s an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which provide a ton of energy and it’s a source of many essential vitamins and minerals. Of course once you start topping pasta with high calorie, high fat, dense fillings, sauces and extras, it begins to become the bad food so many proclaim it to be.

Yep, pasta is pretty darn nutritious and, minus sauce, is quite low fat. Okay, you’re thinking “but carbs are unhealthy, right?” Check your food pyramid, sister! carbohydrates are right there at the bottom - the foundation, you might say. Remember, you need carbs for energy, and pasta, with its complex carbohydrates, provides significant sustained energy and helps you regulate blood sugar levels.

Posted on September 17, 2014 .

Popcorn, the Perfect Snack!

Popcorn is perhaps the most perfect and perfectly named snack. “Popcorn” aptly describes what it is as well as the sound it makes as it transmutes into its final fluffy snack form. Popcorn is tasty, cheap, easy to make and will even help you floss between your teeth. But the pillowy, crunchy, inside-out kernels of goodness are hiding some even better benefits.

Popcorn is pretty unique as a snack as it is 100% unprocessed whole grain. You know that doctors and nutritionists love to tout the greatness of whole grains. They may not know exactly what makes whole grains so great, but they are, and popcorn is a great whole grain.

Posted on September 2, 2014 .