Here’s the sad reality of sports. There is a lot of high-intensity effort, which can cause inflammation to occur during the activity and after it is over. You may be familiar with this thing called lactic acid.
That’s not necessarily inflammation, but it can build up in your legs and even stomach when you are sprinting up and down the field. It can then lead to inflammation in the form of muscle soreness once the game is over.
Then you have your joints to think about. Continuous pounding through repetitive hits and blocks, and just running in general, can cause them to become inflamed and painful over time.
Now, here is a crazy idea that you might not have put much thought into. What if there was a way to reduce all of these symptoms from happening? Or at least, find a way to reduce the incidence so you can speed off into the sunset at a higher capacity?
Well, there is. And the path to get you there leads to alkalinity.
What is alkalinity?
Your blood has a pH level. You can easily check your pH by getting testing strips from your local pharmacy. It is based on a scale that goes from 0 to 14. The ideal is to get around 7, which would mean you are alkaline.
If you are lower than that, you are acidic. It is an acidic environment that raises your risk for inflammation and lactic acid buildup. If you were to get alkaline, not only would you be at less risk, but you would also be more immune to diseases, colds and skin conditions.
By getting into this state, you will by default, improve your ability to stay healthy and play football. And there are a few reasons why.
First of all, when you are alkaline, there is less acid in your system. This means you will be less apt to build up lactic acid, both in the field and in the weight room.
Secondly, your joints and muscles will hold up better to the stress that’s placed under them. Again, you can see this benefit in the weight room and on the field.
Lastly, you will have more energy to perform at a high level. Being acidic causes you to also be lethargic. When you become alkaline, the complete opposite happens. Not only do you experience higher energy levels, but you also see better brain function.
This will transfer over to making better and faster decisions when you are on the field.
The best way you can become alkaline is by simply following an alkaline diet. This requires you to eliminate certain foods and add certain foods. You might struggle with this at first, but once you get into a groove, it’ll be easy peasy.
Foods to Eliminate
There is a right way and wrong way to do everything. And the alkaline diet is no different. The first thing you need to do is get rid of the main foods that can cause high amounts of acid buildup in your system.
And in reality, you CAN have these foods. But just make sure to keep them subjected to moderate levels and special occasions, as opposed to eating them all day, every day.
Here is a list of the main foods to avoid:
- Processed baked goods, including cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pastries and candy bars
- White bread, bagels, rolls and wraps
- White rice and foods that derive from processed grains like cereal, crackers, biscuits, and croissants
- Red meat and cold cuts
- Anything with artificial sweeteners
- Dairy products
- Deep fried foods
- Sugary beverages
Again, these are the main foods that can cause acidity. Some of which are not necessarily bad, while others obviously are. The goal is to ration your intake of all of these foods if you really do want to boost your alkalinity.
Foods to Include
On the flipside, you have foods and beverages that are naturally alkaline and can help buffer the acid in your system. Your goal is to definitely add these to your diet and consume as many of them as possible.
Here is a must-add list:
- Greens like baby spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, collards, and arugula
- Lemons and limes
- Seeded watermelon
- Coconut water
Tricks of the Trade
You may be scared when you look at this schematic because a lot of foods that you need to build and maintain muscle are on the avoidance list. That’s OK. Here’s what you need to do.
Aim for the cleanest forms of animal protein you can like chicken, turkey, fish, and omega-3 eggs. Pair them with an abundance of alkaline foods.
For example, you can make a big, whopping salad, throw a chicken breast and avocado on top, and then spritz it with fresh-squeezed lemon. You just counterbalanced the acid-alkaline ratio.
Another thing you should take into consideration is apple cider vinegar and kombucha. ACV, as it is often called, is a great alkaline-forming substance.
A quick and easy way to help buffer the acid in your system is to down some apple cider vinegar or kombucha right after hard practices, games or training sessions. This will make you more resistant to inflammation and soreness.
Here’s the catch though. ACV is very tart and strong. You have a few different options when it comes to consuming it. Either you can take a small dose, such as half a shot glass, or you can put it in a glass and mix it with some warm water and honey. And it’s also a good idea to throw some on your salads.
Kombucha, on the other hand, is pretty easy to drink. You don’t necessarily want to chug it, but it goes down a lot smoother than ACV.
And in case you are not familiar with kombucha, it is a fermented beverage made from tea. Not only is it alkaline, but it’s also high in antioxidants and probiotics.
OK, now you know exactly what you need to do with your diet to excel on the football field. The only other thing you need to do is eat healthy when you are at restaurants. The HowUdish app makes that super easy.
Just look up a place in your hood and check out what alkaline fare they have to offer. This can take the guesswork out for you and the risk of you eating a meal that’s too acidic.
Good luck and remember to be patient. All great things take time to develop.