Endurance Food-Broccoli

Endurance Food-Broccoli   

Do you love broccoli as much as I do? Raw, steamed, sauted, with cheese, without cheese, any way you eat it-broccoli is the best!

For some athletes, broccoli may cause G.I distress, so you may want to save it for non-competition days.  Or…at least “test” it before a competition!

Speaking of “testing” foods, may I remind you that you do NOT want to try ANYTHING new on competition days!!!  No new foods, no new beverages, no new clothes; someone asked me about a new husband  (or wife)?  You are on your own with that one…

Back to broccoli:

Let’s see what “Super Foods” has to say about the broccoli and its side-kicks:  brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, turnips, cauliflower, collards, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard.

These amazing veggies contain: Sulforaphane, indoles, folate, fiber, calcium, vitamin C, Beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin K.

Servings:  ½ – 1 cup daily

Benefits: reduce risk of cancer, cataracts, build bones, heart health

Need a recipe for broccoli?  Try this one.

Quinoa-Broccoli soup Makes 4-5 servings


1 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa
4 cups vegetable broth or 2 (14.5 oz) cans vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups broccoli, broccolini, rabe or broccoflower, (or try a mix) washed and chopped coarsely
salt and pepper to taste.


Rinse quinoa before cooking to remove the coating of a bitter substance called saponins. Bring water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add broth, onion and carrot Simmer for 10 minutes. Add broccoli and simmer 5 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste Enjoy!

NOTE: Reduce cooking times for a crunchier vegetable.

Nutrition facts: 110 calories; 20 gm carbohydrates; 4 gm protein; 1 gm fat

Variations: Add any additional vegetables you desire. Try other flavored broths. I love mushroom broth with broccoli and quinoa!



Endurance Foods

Lately, I have been getting alot of questions on “what are the best foods,”  “are there really super foods?”  “What foods should I eat for endurance?!”

So, let’s explore what many call “endurance foods,” also called “super foods.”  Actually, these foods we will be exploring, and the info about them, come straight from one of my favorite books “Super Foods” by Steven Pratt and Kathy Matthews.  There are 14 foods listed plus their “side kicks.”  These foods are simple, whole foods, that are easily attainable and affordable.

The 14 foods are:  beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, soy, spinach, tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts and yogurt.

I like to call them “endurance foods,” as being an athlete, I have noticed quite an improvement in my endurance as I train for triathlons.

How about you?  Do you need more endurance for sports, work, play, and sometimes just making it through the day?  Try these super endurance foods.  Let us know what you think!
Each week I will be featuring a new endurance food ALONG WITH A RECIPE!  Stay tuned!  [smile]

Phytochemicals; a Parent to Antioxidents

A parent  to anti-oxidants are phytochemicals. They absolutely essential to athletes!!!
Read this great article that I found at http://www.phytochemicals.info/

What are phytochemicals?

Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties. They are nonessential nutrients, meaning that they are not required by the human body for sustaining life. It is well-known that plant produce these chemicals to protect themselves but recent research demonstrate that they can also protect humans against diseases. There are more than thousand known phytochemicals. Some of the well-known phytochemicals are lycopene in tomatoes, isoflavones in soy and flavanoids in fruits. phytochemical structures

How do phytochemicals work?

There are many phytochemicals and each works differently. These are some possible actions:

  • Antioxidant – Most phytochemicals have antioxidant activity and protect our cells against oxidative damage and reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Phytochemicals with antioxidant activity: allyl sulfides (onions, leeks, garlic), carotenoids (fruits, carrots), flavonoids (fruits, vegetables), polyphenols (tea, grapes).
  • Hormonal action – Isoflavones, found in soy, imitate human estrogens and help to reduce menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis.
  • Stimulation of enzymes – Indoles, which are found in cabbages, stimulate enzymes that make the estrogen less effective and could reduce the risk for breast cancer. Other phytochemicals, which interfere with enzymes, are protease inhibitors (soy and beans), terpenes (citrus fruits and cherries).
  • Interference with DNA replication – Saponins found in beans interfere with the replication of cell DNA, thereby preventing the multiplication of cancer cells. Capsaicin, found in hot peppers, protects DNA from carcinogens.
  • Anti-bacterial effect – The phytochemical allicin from garlic has anti-bacterial properties.
  • Physical action – Some phytochemicals bind physically to cell walls thereby preventing the adhesion of pathogens to human cell walls. Proanthocyanidins are responsible for the anti-adhesion properties of cranberry. Consumption of cranberries will reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and will improve dental health.

How do we get enough phytochemicals?

Foods containing phytochemicals are already part of our daily diet. In fact, most foods contain phytochemicals except for some refined foods such as sugar or alcohol. Some foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, beans, fruits and herbs, contain many phytochemicals. The easiest way to get more phytochemicals is to eat more fruit (blueberries, cranberries, cherries, apple,…) and vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, broccoli,…). It is recommended take daily at least 5 to 9 servings of fruits or vegetable. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre and low in saturated fat.
List of plants containing phytochemicals


Fruits and Nuts

Medicinal Plants

Common Herbs

Beans and seeds

Future of phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are naturally present in many foods but it is expected that through bioengineering new plants will be developed, which will contain higher levels. This would make it easier to incorporate enough phytochemicals with our food.

Vitamin D for Athletes

Found this VERY interesting article on Bob Seebohar’s facebook page:


Taking vitamin D2 is a poor choice for athletes, research shows

January 27, 2014
Appalachian State University
Power athletes and others looking for an edge to improve their performance should avoid taking vitamin D2, a new study suggests. Researchers found that taking vitamin D2 supplements decreased levels of vitamin D3 in the body and resulted in higher muscle damage after intense weight lifting.

Power athletes and others looking for an edge to improve their performance should avoid taking vitamin D2, a new study suggests.

Research conducted at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis showed that taking vitamin D2 supplements decreased levels of vitamin D3 in the body and resulted in higher muscle damage after intense weight lifting.

“This is the first time research has shown that vitamin D2 supplementation is associated with higher muscle damage after intense weight lifting, and thus cannot be recommended for athletes,” said Dr. David Nieman (Dr.P.H.), who directed the study that was funded by a grant from Dole Foods Inc.

Nieman directs the Human Performance Lab and is a faculty member in Appalachian’s College of Health Sciences. He was assisted in the study by Dr. Andrew Shanely, Dustin Dew and Mary Pat Meaney from Appalachian, Dr. Nicholas Gillitt from the Dole Research Laboratory and Dr. BeiBei Luo from Shanghai University of Sport.

Their findings have been published in the journal Nutrients.

The study was designed to measure the effect of six weeks of vitamin D2 supplementation in NASCAR pit crew athletes and the effects on exercise-induced muscle damage and delayed onset of muscle soreness.

During the double-blind study, one group of athletes consumed 3,800 international units (IU) a day of a plant-based vitamin D2. The supplement was derived from Portobello mushroom powder that had been irradiated with ultra-violet light to convert the ergosterol in the mushrooms to vitamin D2 (ergocalcifoerol). The other group of athletes took a placebo.

The researchers had hypothesized that taking the vitamin supplement would improve performance by reducing inflammation and aiding in recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage, particularly as many athletes are deficient in vitamin D in the winter months. However, they found that taking the supplement increased exercise-induced muscle damage in the pit crew athletes, the first documented evidence of exercise-induced muscle damage in athletes taking high doses of vitamin D2.

“When the sun hits our skin, it turns into vitamin D3. The body is used to that,” Nieman said. “High vitamin D2 levels are not a normal experience for the human body. Taking high doses of vitamin D2 caused something to happen at the muscle level that isn’t in the best interest of the athletes. Now we need others to test this and see if they come up with the same results.”

Researchers have been studying the benefits of vitamin D since the middle of the 20th century when some European investigators claimed that athletes who were exposed to sunlamp sessions performed better in the winter months, Nieman said. The European scientists theorized that during winter, when vitamin D levels in the body are low, sunlamp treatments, like natural exposure to sunlight, would increase the athletes’ vitamin D3 levels and benefit muscle function.

“Just about everyone has lower vitamin D levels in the winter,” Nieman said. “We know that when you restore vitamin D levels in older people it improves their muscle function. What hasn’t been documented is if the same holds true for younger adults. We were interested in seeing if increasing vitamin D in the pit crew athletes who train heavily in the off season would improve their muscle and immune function. While vitamin D2 levels in the blood increased, we found that levels of the valuable D3 decreased. And to our surprise, those taking vitamin D2 didn’t have just a little more muscle damage, they had a lot more damage.”

Nieman theorizes that vitamin D2 causes something to occur at the muscle level that worsens muscle damage following stressful exercise. As a result of the study, he does not recommend that any athlete who lifts weights or exercises a lot use vitamin D2 supplements.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Appalachian State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. David Nieman, Nicholas Gillitt, R. Shanely, Dustin Dew, Mary Meaney, Beibei Luo. Vitamin D2 Supplementation Amplifies Eccentric Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage in NASCAR Pit Crew Athletes. Nutrients, 2013; 6 (1): 63 DOI: 10.3390/nu6010063