Secret Foods Give Your Body a Hand
Julia Roy' 15
Complex carbohydrates energize the bod
We’re always being told what food promotes good health, and oftentimes people have a point. However, when targeting specific areas of your body, some unlikely foods are actually beneficial, while socially-accepted “good” foods may be less useful.
For example, carbohydrates, although of- ten thought of as unhealthy or fattening, provide energy for the body and are very important when trying to prevent muscle fatigue and cramping, a problem that can plague student-athletes. "When I go for runs, I sometimes worry about my muscles cramping and I'm always looking for a way to prevent them or alleviate the pain naturally," says Indiana Madden '15. Carbohydrates are stored in the body providing the energy required to perform physical activity, and when the store is depleted, it results in muscle fatigue and leads to cramping.
"Eating complex carbohydrates before exercise and during especially rigorous exercise decreases the chance of cramping," says JV Tennis Coach Ed Grafilo. Examples of beneficial complex carbohydrates are beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables. Foods within these groups such as broccoli and black beans also contain magnesium which regulates electrolytes, and can help relax tense muscles and help prevent cramping, as well as also help repair damaged muscles.
Another problem that many students face is stress, so finding foods that can target brain stimulation appears essential. Foods that provide nutrients such as magnesium and folate can help boost serotonin levels and help in the production of dopamine. The B vitamins are also very beneficial when it comes to fighting stress. Salmon and tuna are both great sources of B vitamins, and salmon can increase serotonin levels. When looking for a small treat, a small amount of dark chocolate, which contains high amounts of flavanoids, can help in relaxation. Eating a little dark chocolate each day can help reduce the amount of cortisol, one of the main stress hormones, in the body, so it can "help relieve stress and satisfy a craving for something unhealthy," according to Sarah Scannell '15.
When combating any problem within the body, always find foods high in vitamins and minerals that can help prevent or alleviate the problems.
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