The New England Super Bowl Patriots expect to rest on Tom's right arm Brady. And Tom Brady's arm rests on a body that will be 36 years old when the 2013 NFL season begins. The quarterback has reached that age when players are forced to invoke the "better football through chemistry" mantra (ie, pain pills and analgesic injections) from "North Dallas 40". For Brady, the best football includes eating a diet that includes more raw foods.
Brady spends his time out of season in California, where he hires a chef who prepares raw food. The chef was recommended by Matthew Kenney, a chef, author and restaurant owner, raw food expert.
Can a raw food diet improve athletic performance?
Kenney swears it's possible. Brady obviously thinks the same. And the New York Yankees base, Mark Teixeira, tennis star Venus Williams, and the Los Angeles Lakers are believers, at least to some extent. Elite athletes have always incorporated raw foods into their diet, but for many it is a conscious choice, even a strategy.
The raw food diet involves consuming plant-based foods in their pure form, preserving all enzymes, nutrients and minerals. These meals are mainly composed of fruits, vegetables, nuts and cheeses that are not heated to more than 115 degrees.
Like many practical advocates of raw foods, Kenney urges a diet that combines raw and non-raw foods. Some athletes who eat raw foods 100% of the time swear by their diet. But most athletes add raw foods while eliminating some cooked, daily products and processed foods from their diets. They can still eat a steak on Saturday night, but on Sunday morning they are already choosing fruits, vegetables, nuts, juices and "super foods".
The Benefits of Raw
Dr. Cate Shanahan, a nutrition consultant for the Los Angeles Lakers, has a practice in Napa, California. She sees all humans as athletes. Yes, you, me and Kobe Bryant, we are all the same. Humans are partly carnivorous, he says, which means we are designed to hunt and run in order to survive.
Shanahan said that raw foods benefit athletes in many ways, and antioxidants add to these advantages even more.
"Many athletes have all kinds of inflammations in their muscles during oxidation," said Shanahan. "This inflammation has the ability to do some damage if it gets out of control." One of the mediators of the damage is free radicals. The job of antioxidants is to capture those loose free radicals, which are basically bouncing around our tissue and damaging us. "
When antioxidants are not present, free radicals can hit tissues and weaken them, causing pain and inflammation and preventing muscle development.
A diet rich in raw foods, particularly vegetables and spicy herbs, is loaded with antioxidants.
Eat like Kobe
Shanahan works with team coach Gary Vitti, strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco, and teams up with chef Sandra Padilla to make sure the Lakers have a healthy diet while at home and in the field. They all make sure that the team is not eating the wrong foods while also ensuring that they eat the right ones. Vitti and DiFrancesco have a saying: "you can not go out and train a bad diet".
"We want to prevent chefs from inadvertently poisoning them," Shanahan said. "They do this inadvertently because of the processed oils found deep in the fryers and casseroles, which makes them toxic and contains trans fats and other types of fats that promote the formation of free radicals ".
"If you could shake a Geiger counter, showing, whether it's food that is good or bad about something like chips or fried shrimp, it would come off its scale," Shanahan said.
The diet of Lakers team members is allowed if loaded with raw foods such as pasture animals, fermented and sprouted foods, nitrate-free products and fats from pasture animals such as butter, cream, and cheeses, including cottage cheese. The flesh without bone or skin are outside. The meat on the bone, the natural fats of its ribs and the stewed meats are inside. The Shanahan regime is similar in many ways to the Paleo diet, only that it pays more attention to certain details such as cooking oils.
"See 'Game of Thrones'?" Shanahan asked, "Imagine what they would eat, they would not cook boneless chicken or skin, they eat the whole chicken on a spit, whole animals, roasted, simmered, as you might imagine coming from a medieval castle."
The other side of the raw
There are risks associated with raw foods, some obvious and some hidden.
The danger of pathogenic infections, particularly E. coli, increases with raw meat and daily consumption of raw foods. If you are doing a totally raw diet and want to include meats and dairy products, do your research on the handling and safe preparation of food.
It is widely known that completely raw fruits and vegetables have higher vitamin and mineral content, but the Colorado State University professor, Loren Cordain (founder of the Paleo diet), mentions that the difference between cooked and Not cooked is not always dramatic, and sometimes there is no difference at all.
In fact, cooking increases the nutritional value of some foods.Heating tomatoes decreases their vitamin C content, but it also makes lycopene (an anticancer compound found in tomatoes) to become more absorbable.
Cordain notes that uncooked foods can limit diet, as many grains, legumes, beans and tubers are inedible in their raw state. Cooking food before eating it is hardly a modern concept. According to most archaeological evidence, humans have cooked with fire for at least 400,000 years.
But, what if you're not a Laker?
16 raw foods for athletes
Do you want to add more raw foods to your athletic diet? The experts we spoke with recommended the following for beginners.
Raw cheese Pickles (pickles) Avocado Kale Maca Cocoa Chia seeds Hemp protein Vegetable seeds Goji berries Nuts Almonds Fresh vegetables