Having amazing energy levels is something that all equestrian athletes need regardless of what level they compete at. Here’s a cracking tip for you which I have been implementing with my equestrian athletes to great effect.
For a very long time now, far eastern cultures have utilised the benefits of spices to add flavour to their traditional dishes. It was also thought that spices had a therapeutic effect! They weren’t wrong, many studies have shown that there is much value when adding spice to foods. Some spices have been proven to contain antibacterial properties; these include cloves, chilli, horse radish and pomegranate seeds (1). These are often used to preserve food and the strong flavours associated, aid digestion (2) by triggering saliva and gastric secretions.
Some spices, such as chilli, cayenne, and paprika and garlic and certain leaves such as basil, bay leaf, oregano, rosemary, sage, and tarragon are also known to contain B- Complex vitamins and minerals, which aid the digestion and breakdown of foods into energy used by the body, assisting the health of the nervous system. More recently there has been a growing wealth of research supporting the regular intake of spices in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes (3), cancer (4), and also in the reduction of blood pressure (5)
Anti oxidants and spices- These can be found in our fruits and vegetables. They are the result of phytonutrients- which can only be sourced from plants due to the sun light they absorb. These have anti-inflammatory benefits, anti-toxin and are believed to reduce menopausal symptoms, most noticeably the hot flushes (6).
I love to use cinnamon to flavour my foods naturally. Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant and combined with blueberries in an omelette makes a great breakfast/brunch.
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 banana
- 1/5 cup of blueberries
- Teaspoon of cinnamon
1. combine ingredients
2. blend until there are no lumps
3. heat pan/griddle
4. pour in contents and brown both sides
Job done, this takes me 5 minutes!
Spices you may wish to consider adding to your nutritional plan.
ROSEMARY- reduced free radical damage, produced when the body’s cells utilise oxygen and thought to aid cancer prevention.
SAFFRON- anti cancer, used to treat skin conditions, aids depression and helps prevent insomnia and indigestion.
GARLIC- a cracker for reducing blood pressure and cholesterol and its believed that it’s great for fighting off colds!
CINAMON- my favourite! This spice has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, crucial for the prevention of diabetes and essential for fat loss and many people report benefits to their digestion and in the prevention of colds and allergies.
I hope that you will now feel that these simple tips can be easily introduced into your foods.
- Minakshi, Amit Krishna, A. B. Banerjee Antimicrobial screening of some Indian spice. 1999. Phytotherapy Research. Volume 13, Issue 7, pages 616–618.
- Rivlin , R.S. (2001). Historical Perspective on the Use of Garlic. Journal of Nutrition. Volume 131: Pages 951S-954S
- Alam Khan, MS, Mahpara Safdar, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, Khan Nawaz Khattak, Richard A. Anderson. (2003), Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, volume 26 , no. 12 , pages 3215-3218
- Wiston, C.J. (1999). Health-promoting properties of common herbs. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume. 70, No. 3, pages 491S-499S.
- Jacobs,D.R. & Steffen,L.M. (2003). Nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns as exposures in research: a framework for food synergy . American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, No. 3, 508S-513S
- Bodinet, C. & Freudenstein, J. (2004). Influence of marketed herbal menopause preparations on MCF-7 cell proliferation. Volume 11 – Issue 3 – pp 281-289