Which herbs increase athletic performance!
Before we talk about the many beneficial herbs that improve athletic performance, an introduction is needed. It is important to know the chemistry of our own body, and the reasons why we often need supplements when we strain our body.
So we start with the basics: whether we are athletes, or we exercise out of hobbies and respect for our body, we all want to improve our performance. A balanced diet, proper sleep and the right form of exercise are the first things we need to consider and then make improvements!
What our body consumes when we exercise:
During exercise, the body consumes energy, mainly from the carbohydrate reserves we have, as they help maintain blood sugar levels. When carbohydrates are depleted, so are we. So replenishment during and after exercise is important. Not just for energy but for the muscles to recover faster. Carbohydrates are important for all types of exercise, especially intensity.
Proteins, in turn, build muscle and endurance. Only prolonged and strenuous exercise needs protein supplementation. Fish, chicken and many of our legumes are enough.
The known antioxidants, which are mainly hidden in vitamins C, E & A, are needed to protect the organs from free radicals, which invade the body during exercise, when oxygen intake is increased.
Minerals are important for maintaining good health. Zinc prevents the body from oxidizing, and contributes to detoxification, while calcium maintains strong bones and contributes to more efficient muscle performance.
Electrolytes are important elements for the body to function properly, but it cannot produce on its own. They balance the flow of fluids in the body, but are eliminated during sweating, resulting in dehydration, heatstroke, cramps and even confusion if we do not take care. Magnesium, potassium and sodium are among the most important components that need supplementation after strenuous or intense training.
It is important for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to take into account the beneficial effects of herbs, reducing the risk of using questionable dietary supplements. The integration of herbs in the diet contributes to better performance, greater endurance, fat reduction, faster recovery, reduction of inflammation, better concentration and stimulation of the immune system, for better health. So herbs can make up for lost from exercise elements that the body needs, but also contribute to the recovery of injuries.
Arnica significantly reduces inflammation associated with bruises, sprains, muscle aches and general injury pain. Reduction of cellular lesions after distance running has been shown.
Astragalus (huang qi) stimulates and strengthens the immune system. It can increase the number of white blood cells, a key to fighting viruses, while showing improved endurance in athletes.
Cayenne pepper is ideal for muscle aches and spasms, capsaicin is a natural analgesic. Consumption increases the respiratory rate and the concentration of lactic acid in the blood, but it consumes large amounts of carbohydrates, so it is better to prefer it for musculoskeletal pain. Along with cayenne, it is worth mentioning chili, as it protects against blood clots, while at the same time speeding up the metabolism. Chili strengthens cardiovascular health and the immune system while providing a large amount of vitamin C in the body.
Valerian, known as a natural antidepressant, contributes significantly to the fight against hyperactivity while strengthening the muscles. For athletes it can be useful in improving the quality of sleep but also in dealing with stress.
Rhodiola, or golden root, stimulates the nervous system, improves performance in sports activities and increases endurance.
Ginseng is widely known for improving performance, increasing physical strength and speeding up recovery after strenuous exercise. In general, ginseng increases vitality, is a powerful antioxidant and strengthens the immune system.
Basil and oregano are herbs full of vitamin K which has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and at the same time contributes significantly to the protection and proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. The antioxidant action of oregano prevents and corrects the damage caused by free radicals. They increase the performance of the heart, especially important help for marathon runners. Tip: Prefer fresh basil and fresh oregano over dried!
To increase concentration and mental clarity, sage is ideal. Research has shown that consumption helps control attention, enhances memory, relieves stress and keeps us awake.
Cinnamon is also very effective in stabilizing blood sugar levels, helping to prevent diabetes. Its warming action protects the muscles and joints, while it is a strong anti-inflammatory.
The curcumin contained in turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. After exercise, it relieves stiffness and muscle pain. Turmeric has a strong anti-cancer effect and protects the heart and brain. People who exercise in the open air and are exposed to sunlight are protected by consuming turmeric.
Safety and use: Athletes must always remember that herbs are powerful dietary supplements and for this very reason, use requires moderation and attention. Side effects or allergic reactions depend mainly on the organism and the proper use.