5 FOOD TO BE THANKFUL FOR | The Cycle Project

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5 FOOD TO BE THANKFUL FOR

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. As we focus our attention on staying active and avoiding extra calories, it can be easy to forget the spirit behind the season: Gratitude.

Below are five foods to be thankful for, enjoy guilt-free and share with others.

 

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is unique because it is the only grain that contains all 22 amino acid proteins. This ancient food was considered sacred among the Incas. During the European conquest of South America, the Spanish conquistadores burned down all the quinoa crops in an effort to rid the indigenous population of their culture. The locals were forced to grow corn instead, and quinoa eventually disappeared off the face of the planet.

In the early 1980s an American couple from Colorado heard of the grain and went out in search of it. They found some remnants, brought it back to the U.S., and started cultivating it. Today quinoa is an inexpensive, complete source of protein for us all.

Quinoa is great not only for vegans and vegetarians but for any athlete looking for a complete protein source.

 

2. Cinnamon

Besides tasting great, cinnamon also has a rich history. As a spice, it was so highly prized that blood was shed for it. In the first century A.D., 350 grams of cinnamon were equal in value to over five kilograms of silver, about fifteen times the value of silver per weight.

Cinnamon is very warm in nature, which is why it’s so comforting during the winter season. It has been used to cure everything from the common cold to bad breath to diarrhea. Cinnamon is also used in the treatment of Type II diabetes and insulin resistance.

Cinnamon has two qualities that benefit athletes. Firstly, it aids in the circulation of blood due to the presence of a blood thinning compound. Good blood circulation means more oxygen supply to the muscles, which leads to higher metabolic activity. Secondly, cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and helps in muscle and joint stiffness.

 

3. Chia Seeds

These seeds are an amazing source of Omega-3s. Because our bodies can’t produce Omega-3s, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are nutrients we must consume regularly for optimal health and brain development.

Chia seeds are easy to throw on cereal or yogurt. An additional tip for athletes: If you soak these seeds overnight, they will absorb water and help maintain hydration levels during exercise.

 

4. Kefir

This probiotic is chock full of good bacteria required for optimal digestion and helps control the gastro-intestinal issues that may plague some athletes. It tastes great when added to oatmeal or cereal.

There are 10 times more bacteria cells in (and on) the human body than there are human cells. A lot of these bacteria are beneficial and necessary. Bacteria are responsible for converting our nutrients into vitamins, promoting stool regularity and boosting our immune system. When good bacteria are using up the space and resources in our bodies, there’s no room for bad bacteria to grow. This is why probiotics like Kefir work to keep athletes healthy.

 

5. Flax Seeds

Another great source of Omega-3s, these seeds have also been shown to promote bone health by reducing bone loss. This is important for athletes who regenerate bone more frequently than most people. Flax seeds help make active bones less prone to injury.

These seeds also help control blood pressure and have cholesterol-lowering benefits. They are rich in fiber, which helps keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Eat these seeds ground instead of whole to maximize absorption.

Foods to be thankful for are all around us this season: pumpkin, apples, spices and squash to name a few. Prepare them healthfully and enjoy the holidays.

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