Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Foods That Increase Stamina - Alimentos que aumentan la resistencia


Stamina and physical endurance are determined by whether your body has enough nutrients to fuel your daily activities. Although physical activity uses more of some nutrients than others, it is important to start with a diet that meets your daily requirements for protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and total calories. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids is also crucial for improving stamina, because water is essential for every system in the body to function properly.


Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the body's most efficient fuel source. However, your muscles and liver can only store enough carbohydrates to fuel your body for about 90 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. Providing your body with a steady stream of complex carbohydrates during long workouts or throughout a busy day keeps your energy levels high all day long. Breads, pastas, grains (such as rice, quinoa, millet and spelt), starchy vegetables (like corn, peas and potatoes) and sugars are dense sources of carbohydrates, while dairy products, legumes, fruits and vegetables also provide some carbohydrates.

Foods with a low glycemic index (foods that release their sugars slowly into the bloodstream) such as oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, bananas and yams provide a sustainable energy boost. Except during workouts lasting more than two hours, avoid high glycemic index foods like processed sugars (table sugar, evaporated cane juice) and syrups (maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and brown rice syrup, for example) that dump glucose into the bloodstream faster than your body can burn it. The energy-sapping "sugar crash" that comes after eating high glycemic index foods will leave you feeling tired and sluggish soon after eating them.


Caffeine

Caffeine causes the body to use a greater proportion of fat for fuel, sparing limited carbohydrate stores and thus enhancing endurance and stamina. Coffee, tea, chocolate, yerba maté, soft drinks and some sports supplements contain caffeine. However, Brendan Brazier, professional Ironman triathlete and author of "The Thrive Diet," warns that habitual caffeine use blunts its endurance-boosting effects, so it is best to save caffeinated drinks for special days requiring extra stamina.

Foods Engineered for Endurance

Several products, including designer sports drinks, gels, bars and candies, are specifically engineered to increase endurance during exercise. Gatorade, Powerade, Clif, Gü and Hammer Nutrition are a few examples of companies that manufacture endurance-boosting foods. These products not only provide quick- and slow-digesting carbs necessary for a steady stream of energy, but also replenish the essential minerals (electrolytes) lost through sweat. Electrolyte depletion can limit performance just as drastically as exhaustion of your carbohydrate stores.

Other Foods

Chia seeds are an ancient food that the Aztecs used for extended energy before battle. Christopher McDougall describes how contemporary long-distance indigenous runners use chia to extend endurance in his bestselling book "Born to Run." In addition to an exceptionally rich nutrient profile, chia seeds turn to a gel in the stomach, improving hydration and slowing the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, leading to sustained energy.

Maca is another ancient plant used to increase both athletic and sexual stamina. According to Brazier, maca regulates hormonal balance, helping athletes restore hormone levels after workouts and speeding muscle recovery to improve an active individual's stamina over several days.




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