Go Green

Be your best in — and out — of the gym with plant-based sup­ple­ments.

Oxygen - - Contents - By Steve Downs, CSCS

Be your best in — and out — of the gym with plant-based sup­ple­ments.

by all es­ti­mates, Amer­ica is go­ing green. And this is not just in the en­ergy cat­e­gory for cars, homes and busi­nesses — it also cen­ters around pow­er­ing the hu­man ma­chine. With the in­cred­i­ble rise in pop­u­lar­ity of per­sonal juic­ing, cold-pressed juice bars and fresh-pressed bot­tled drinks, there has never been a bet­ter time to be healthy.

The raw statis­tics are stag­ger­ing: Juic­ing ac­counts for more than $5 bil­lion in sales each year in the U.S. alone. This is be­cause more than 82 per­cent of adults queried in the 2015 Func­tional Foods Sur­vey are try­ing to con­sume more fruits and veg­eta­bles. At the same time, whole­food sup­ple­ments rep­re­sent one of the fastest grow­ing sup­ple­ment sec­tors, with 2017 sales pro­jected to hit $2.7 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Nu­tri­tion Busi­ness Jour­nal.

But what are the spe­cific ben­e­fits of green sup­ple­ments, and how can they help you be your best in the gym? The re­al­ity is, it shouldn’t be hard to con­vince ex­er­cise en­thu­si­asts about the power of fruits and veg­gies. You’ve un­doubt­edly been in­clud­ing th­ese in your diet to some ex­tent if you’ve been eat­ing healthy at all. But the con­ve­nience of their use is where the real prob­lem lies.

Green sup­ple­ments help pro­vide the vi­ta­mins, min­er­als, phy­tonu­tri­ents and an­tiox­i­dants of real pro­duce with­out all the has­sles of juic­ing them at home. They won’t re­place your need for fruits and veg­gies, but they can cer­tainly sup­ple­ment your in­take in a big way.

So here’s a quick run­down of the whys of nat­u­ral sup­ple­ments, es­pe­cially as it ap­plies to green (and red) pow­ders: 1. much more con­ve­nient than juic­ing; 2. sim­plic­ity of cre­ation (sim­ply mix pow­ders in wa­ter); 3. lower price com­pared with whole foods; 4. choices of spe­cific in­gre­di­ents or com­bi­na­tions; 5. al­ways avail­able, no mat­ter what the sea­son; and 6. whole-food in­gre­di­ents are avail­able in many sup­ple­ment forms.

Still not con­vinced? Let’s go a lit­tle deeper . . .

Plant Protein

Let’s start with the ba­sics. Every­one knows the advantage of milk-based protein (whey and ca­sein), but plant pro­teins are health­ier and stand up well in terms of amino-acid qual­ity — as long as you make the right choices. For starters, plant pro­teins are al­ka­line based, as op­posed to the acid­ity of milk pro­teins, which helps bring the body’s pH level in bal­ance. They are eas­ier to di­gest, and they help re­duce acid­ity that taxes di­ges­tion and causes in­flam­ma­tion while pro­vid­ing whole-food nu­tri­tion. They also avoid po­ten­tial hor­mones, an­tibi­otics, GMO feed and pes­ti­cides that are as­so­ci­ated with dairy cows (and milk pro­teins).

Soy protein is a pop­u­lar plant choice for women, but it’s not nec­es­sar­ily the best. While whole soy­beans pro­vide health ben­e­fits such as pro­mot­ing heart health, im­prov­ing me­tab­o­lism, en­hanc­ing di­ges­tive health and pro­vid­ing a good protein source, they are not so ben­e­fi­cial when pro­cessed. When re­fined, the heat process de­grades their nu­tri­ents. (Soy protein is one of the byprod­ucts of the re­moval of fat from soy so it can be used as a food ad­di­tive.) In ad­di­tion, it may con­tain high lev­els of omega-6 fatty acids (which pro­mote in­flam­ma­tion) and phy­tates (which block ab­sorp­tion of min­er­als).

So what plant protein should you use? Whole-grain brown rice, hemp, pea, chia and pump­kin seed pro­teins

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