Did you know, plants create antioxidants to protect themselves from UV rays, drought, flooding and low-nutrient soil?

Antioxidants guard plants against environmental stress – and by eating plants – we enjoy similar benefits.

So how do antioxidants improve your training and performance?

Antioxidants protect athletes from damaging free radicals created during intense physical activity. Savvy athletes consume antioxidants to reduce the stress from exercise, thus increasing their training and development capacity.

This both prevents bodily damage and accelerates the recovery process, which translates into more training and higher levels of performance than athletes who do not consume adequate amounts of antioxidants.

Continue reading to learn how you can elevate your training with antioxidants.

 

What Are Antioxidants?

reduce inflammation and speed recovery with antioxidants

Antioxidants are natural substances that remove damaging, oxidizing agents from the body.

Intense physical activity creates reactive oxygen, which becomes damaging molecules known as free radicals.

Sustained exposure to free radicals contributes to muscle, joint and ligament inflammation in athletes. This inflammation reduces general mobility, athletic performance and impairs healing. At its worst, damage from free radicals includes arthritis and other inflammatory diseases like cancer.

Antioxidants are the body’s best defense against oxidative damage caused by intense exercise.

Consuming dietary polyphenols – aka plant-based antioxidants – is directly linked to countering the damages of oxidative stress created by exercise. Nature’s most effective sources of neutralizing polyphenols include superfoods like pomegranate, mangosteen and goji berries.

 

How Do Antioxidants Help You Train Harder?

the affects of antioxidants on sports performance for student athletes

Regular physical activity creates chronic inflammation in athletes’ bodies. Also known as overuse injuries.

Athletes achieving high levels of performance face chronic inflammation from constant physical activity and an increased risk of injury, including ligament and tendon tears (ACL, MCL, etc). Training five days a week with one day of competition allows only baseline levels of recovery.

To restore wellness and  physical capacity for each new day, athletes should consume pre-workout and post-workout antioxidants. These supplements clear away oxidative free radicals that impede performance as well as provide necessary protein for muscle gains. Managing chronic, low-grade levels of inflammation and oxidative stress is crucial for athletes focused on capturing a competitive advantage and maximizing development.

antioxidants are sports nutrition essentials for athletes

High-achieving athletes have long relied upon antioxidant-rich plants as natural painkillers. For example, plants high in chlorophyll – like the superfood wheatgrass – are alkaline instead of acid-forming. They increase the amount of good oxygen in the your blood.

Research confirms that increased vascular oxygen elevates physical endurance while simultaneously minimizing swelling and inflammation in joints, tendons and ligaments. This results in everyday improved mobility. Alkaline and antioxidant-rich plants are also proven to help retain lean muscle mass.

Less bodily inflammation adds up to a more flexible, less stiff or swollen body. Quicker recovery means faster healing, which allows for more and greater training output over time. Ultimately, the healthier your body the more you can train and the more competitive and successful you’ll be.

 

Closing Out

For athletes who want to train at their best every day, clearing away inflammation-causing free radicals is a must. Eliminating unwanted cell damage, preventing injury and improving performance is a matter of essential daily maintenance.

To prioritize long-term athletic potential and simultaneously reduce everyday aches and pains, help your body recover to its fullest. Supplementing with the right antioxidants after exercise is the surefire way to improve recovery times and guarantee your best training potential.