Many people either don’t understand the full scope of sports nutrition. Others get caught up on meat-only diets that can leave you missing out on crucial nutritional additions like legumes, which can propel your results. To prove why you could benefit from paying attention to this sports nutrition essential, we’re going to consider just a few of the benefits of lentils for sports nutrition.
From high-protein, meat-based meals to the use of potassium-rich foods like bananas to eat before a workout, everyone on a fitness journey should understand the need to eat right in order to feel and see the full benefits of their workout efforts. After all, even if you’re exercising for weight loss, fueling your body properly, and making sure that you’ve got plenty of energy to complete workouts in the first place is imperative for results that last.
Most commonly used in vegetarian foods like dahls or the lentil soup recipes found here, lentils are tiny legumes that pack a big punch. Lentils offer a unique combination of lean protein and carbohydrates and have the second-highest ratio of protein to food energy of any legume. They are high in thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, zinc, carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin), and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Lentils are gluten-free and offer a low glycemic index as well.
A great benefit of lentils for sports nutrition is improved performance. Studies show that eating lentils before your workout can affect performance in a positive way. The longer you’re able to work out, the more visible any results are going to be. Lentils are always worth adding into the mix.
Thanks to having a great deal of fiber, as much as 8.45g of fiber for every 100g, the assimilation of carbs is delayed, providing better-controlled energy levels over way longer periods. Having a low glycemic index also means that, whether you prep with a lentil salad or a lentil curry a few hours before exercise begins, you’ll probably find that you can push a little longer than you might have if you’d opted for a less-effective food choice.
Increased Muscle Power
Regardless of whether you’re hitting the weights or going cycling, muscle power can make workouts easier to manage, and the foods you eat need to account for that. Luckily, lentils work for this too thanks to the presence of key nutrients including magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and even essential minerals that help with both bone health and muscle contraction. Not to mention that the slow-release energy we already discussed above can significantly help your muscles to adjust to powering through instead of giving up on you after a few push-ups.
Lentils also make a terrific recovery food post-exercise, which is another benefit for sports nutrition. What you eat before exercising matters for getting you on the right track, but not as much as what you eat afterward. After all, your after-workout meals are responsible for recovery that dictates both how soon you exercise again, and any general health benefits.
The rich nutrient content of lentils makes them great in this respect, allowing your body to stock up on any nutrients that it lost during the workout. Besides helping to replenish nutrients, lentils can heal wear and tears caused by hard workouts. Equally, the low-calorie count but satisfyingly filling feeling of any lentil dish provides a light, easily digestible way to fill up your reserves even if you don’t necessarily feel like eating anything too heavy.
Incorporate lentil-based recipes into your nutrition plan to experience all the benefits of lentils for sports nutrition. Lentils are a true power food for fuelling your fitness efforts allowing you to improve endurance, muscle power, and recovery.
To a Fitter Healthier You,
The Fitness Wellness Mentor