Food is medicine and plays a stellar role in recovery after a great match!
As a mompreneur, mother of four sons, and soccer coach I was very surprised that the young (ages 12-15) players on our soccer teams were suffering from various ailments such as pulled hamstrings, asthma attacks, knee issues, joint pain, etc. These are kids we’re talking about who should be fit and play fearlessly while having fun. Given our current social culture, kids today spend lots of time playing video games and scrolling through social media and aren’t in the best of shape physically, mentally and emotionally. These are all components that affect an athletes/teens performance in any vertical of their ever-changing lives. You would think as much time as they spend on YouTube and Google they might have learned a thing or two about a thing or two. That’s why I’m using this moment as a teachable moment.
After strenuous physical activity, your player may experience swelling, redness, heat, pain or discomfort in joints and muscles. Inflammation, in a healthy body, is the most effective way that assists in healing. Inflammation is a bodily function that helps the body recover from workouts, practice, or games. The lymphatic (immune) system brings white blood cells to the areas of concern through increased blood flow.
When the immune system goes into overdrive it begins to attack healthy tissues and cause issues such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, celiac and irritable bowel disease. It can also affect those with nonautoimmune conditions such as asthma and effects of diabetes. We all need to stay on top of this. No one enjoys feeling lousy. In asthma, airways become inflamed and constrict airways and effects of diabetes can result in insulin resistance.
Kudos to you if you are still reading and ready to make a change. Let’s get to it. If you don’t make it to the end of this blog post that’s cool but do yourself a favor and incorporate and introduce 15 of the best anti-inflammatory foods even if it’s the only thing you do. Make the change gradually. This promotes sustainability and makes it easier for your body to adapt and to stay the course. See the list below.
To keep your body operating at its optimum potential remember to take care of it after exercising. Listen to your body. Don’t overextend or exert yourself as that can lead to injuries. If injuries occur practice RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate. Another way to prevent injuries is to warm up before workouts and afterward get a good stretch in. Practice yoga for better flexibility, agility, balance, and promote a better range of motion. Get plenty of rest. Meditate, journal, breathe and again, practice yoga. When your mindset is right your body performs exponentially in all variables of your being in regards to cognition, physical, social and emotional health.
The typical average American teenage diet consists of chips, fries, burgers, chicken nuggets, tacos, soda, candy, etc. These are all foods and drinks that are heavily processed and have little nutritional benefits. During a time when teens are developing and going through changes, it is important that the foods they consume are healthy. Include lots of fresh produce and foods that are great sources of antioxidants, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
As I promised, here is the list of 15 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
- Green Leafy Veggies
- Bok Choy
- Bone Broth
- Coconut oil
- Chia Seeds
Let’s get real. Most teens probably will not practice a plant-based or vegan diet. That’s not what we’re asking. The objective is to eat right to attain the goal of Health and Wellness. The earlier you practice the better your future. Start small. By replacing not so healthy options with healthy options gradually is a great place to begin. Take a look at your fridge and pantries and edit. Look at your take out and fast food bill and slash it by making food at home. Wherever you start is a start and it can make the transition into a healthier lifestyle that much easier for you and your players.
As parents, caregivers, and coaches we are often “too busy” with careers, juggling kids, and other commitments. Now is a great time to evaluate your eating habits. Talk to your family and find out which healthy foods they enjoy. Find out their favorites. If they want burgers, make the burgers. Replace over-processed, hormone injected meats with veggie burgers or incorporate veggies into salmon or lean organic meat. Check out your local grocer. Part of the fun is hunting for great tasting veggie burgers. You’ll be amazed at the wide variety of flavors that are available. Switch up greasy, preservative filled, fries with tasty baked sweet potato fries. Use organic seasonings to kick it up a notch. Possibilities are endless. Get creative. Have your teens pitch in during meal prep. This will help them become accountable for their eating habits. Also, encourage them to drink plenty of water throughout the day as opposed to pop/soda and other sugary drinks.
I know what you’re thinking…Eating healthy can be extremely expensive. Raising kids alone takes a toll on your pockets. Take a few things into consideration. Your family’s health is an investment that is well worth it. Less medical bills for one. Other options to consider is to shop your local farmers’ markets. Buy frozen or organic canned fruits and veggies and make sure your products aren’t full of additives, preservatives, and words that are hard to pronounce. If you can’t say it, it doesn’t belong in your body.
Time is another issue people think of when trying to make changes towards healthier eating. Consider this: it’s a waste of your time when you become ill. Turn negative energy into positive energy. Stop being lazy. Have your players help out with the shopping, menu planning, and meal prep. Make it fun, play some tunes, whistle while you work, and catch up with your kids! When you’ve taken the time to prep then you spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying mealtime with the fam!
Better eating habits, lots of exercise, plenty of water, meditation and rest can benefit everyone. You’ll see great changes in your teen’s athletic performance, as well as positive productivity in their school work. You’ll even notice better attitudes and an overall sense of well being. It even clears up the skin and boosts confidence! Set the example and you’ll experience the benefits yourself! Bonus: less stress and headaches! What are you waiting for? Remember, nothing changes until you do!!!
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