If you are an athlete or work out regularly, you are probably well aware of the importance of pre-and post-workout carbs for energy, and protein for muscle repair. But you may not realize that fat provides as much as 75 percent of the energy you use during a long aerobic workout, according to the Colorado State University Extension. Fat is also essential for vitamin absorption and to replenish energy after exercise. However, not all fat is created equal, and good fats have added health benefits.
Coconut oil is high in medium-chain triglycerides, which your body processes more rapidly than long-chain triglycerides. This means you burn them for fuel during exercise in much the same way as carbohydrates, making them a good choice for pre-workout energy. “The Coconut Oil Miracle” also notes that coconut oil can boost your immune system and fight free-radical damage. This is important post-workout because vigorous exercise promotes oxidation, and tough workouts can suppress your immune system.
During exercise, you are breaking down muscle, and post-workout you need to rebuild the tissue as well as replenish your energy supply. Nuts supply healthy, monounsaturated fats, which are critical for energy and vitamin absorption, and raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol, according to Daniel Burke, author of “Fast Fat Loss Plan.” Nuts are also a good source of protein, which will help you recover more quickly after a workout. Eat a variety to get the maximum range of vitamins and minerals.
Endurance athletes like ultra-runner Scott Jurek use avocados to bulk out the total calories in their diets, as reported in an “ESPN” magazine interview. Like nuts, avocados are a source of heart-friendly monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for blood cholesterol levels. Avocados fit easily into soups, salads, sandwiches, and even smoothies. Try a half-sandwich with avocado, tomato and lettuce as a pre-workout snack, and refuel afterwards with guacamole and flatbread.
Flax Seed Oil
Flax seed oil is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation including muscular aches from exercise, and diseases such as asthma, arthritis, and migraine, according to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois. Another benefit of flax seed oil, notes the “International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health,” is that it supports bone density, which can help you maintain and enhance your bone strength through exercise, and prevent osteoporosis.
- Colorado State University Extension: Nutrition for the Athlete
- The Coconut Oil Miracle; Bruce Fife
- ESPN:Who Says You Have to Eat Meat to be a Successful Athlete?
- Fast Fat Loss: The Revolutionary Guide to Healthy Living; Daniel Burke
- McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois: Flax Seeds and Nutritional Needs
- International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health: Impact of Feeding Flaxseed Oil on Delaying the Development of Osteoporosis in Ovariectomised Diabetic Rats