WHAT DO ANTIOXIDANTS DO?
Every body undergoes a process called 'oxidization' when fighting bacteria (white blood cells) or detoxifying the body (liver). This process can produce substances called free radicals, which can damage your body's cells. Antioxidants can help stabilize your body before these free radicals do severe damage and cause illnesses and disease. However, too many antioxidants can also have negative effects because a small amount of free-radicals are actually good for your body's biological functions (such as cell growth and regulating the immune system). As with any supplement, balance is key.
WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
Training at high levels of intensity leads to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is defined as the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) - produced as a result of cells' metabolic processes - and antioxidants. Oxidative stress can damage cell structure, protein and lipids. Antioxidants can help to counteract this imbalance, leading to better muscle recovery and a stronger immune system.
Blueberries contain anthocyanin, a type of flavanoid that gives blueberries their blue color, and Vitamin C. Both are powerful antioxidants that may help guard against cell damage.Health benefits include: heart health, bone strength, skin health, blood pressure, diabetes management, cancer prevention, mental health.
HIGH IN IRON
Iron transports oxygen to various parts of the body and is an important mineral when training at levels of high intensity. It also regulates cell growth and the liver.
HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANTS AND VITAMIN K
Kale is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, both of which are essential in repairing damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. They also aid in bolstering your immune system, helping you to avoid illness and train consistently. Kale furthermore contains vitamin K, which is important for bone health and to help regulate blood clotting (coagulation).
Kale contains isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are made from glucosinolates. ITCs work hand-in-hand with antioxidants by removing the toxins that antioxidants have destroyed at a cellular level.1
Most of the processed foods that we eat today are full of omega-6 fatty acids, which have been linked to internal inflammations like rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. 2
Kale, however, contains anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids on an almost perfect 1:1 ratio with omega-6 fatty acids (there are slightly more omega-3). This means that kale can help reduce the negative effects of processed foods rich in omega-6, like those cooked in vegetable oil.
Kale's detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal food for promoting cardiovascular health and keeping your heart pumping properly during your training sessions.
If you do decide to start incorporating kale into your diet, just be aware of its source. Reports indicate that kale is one of the most heavily sprayed (pesticides) crops in the United States. Kale's high-fiber content also makes it a bit more difficult for your body to break down, and it may not be the best thing to eat before your high-intensity workout.