Do I need Performance Greens in my diet? Green superfoods are a popular addition to an athletes’ diet. They provide a convenient solution to taking on fruit and vegetables with the essential vitamins that they provide. A vitamin and mineral supplement may be unnecessary for an athlete who consumes a diet providing high- energy availability from a variety of nutrient-dense foods(1). However, this is often not the case – especially when athletes are undergoing a strenuous training program, or travelling for competitions. It is suggested that a vitamin supplement may be appropriate for these athletes, especially when an individual is following an energy-restricted diet or is unable to consume a sufficient variety of foods(1). An athlete exercising in a carbohydrate-depleted state experiences larger increases in stress hormones and a greater decrease immune function(2). Here, an athlete may consider adding Performance Greens to their diet. What are the benefits? It’s important to take on nutrients, antioxidants, bioactive compounds, and phytochemicals from a balanced diet with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant foods for optimal nutrition, health, and well-being(2). Green leafy vegetables are rich in phytonutrients which aren’t present in typical multivitamins and recovery drinks. For example, spirulina has been shown to prevent muscle damage under conditions of oxidative stress, while inducing immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory responses(3). Spirulina supplementation has also been shown to increase exercise performance(4). Kale provides a source of calcium and vitamin K, with low levels associated with increased chances of fractures and decreases in bone strength(5). Other greens like chlorella have been shown to combat the reduction in SIgA secretion (an antibody serving as the first line of defense protecting against toxins and pathogens)(6). Consuming the correct doses… It is suggested that the general population may consume a one-a-day low-dose multivitamin in order to promote general health, along with a diet containing your “five a day”(7). This is also apparent in athletes undergoing a training program to help support immune function, while still promoting training adaptations(1). Performance Greens Key features include 18 nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, including kale, spirulina, broccoli, spinach and chlorella, along with a 42 mg (53% RDI) dose of vitamin C and green tea extracts. This makes Performance Greens the ideal addition to your morning smoothie, with two servings providing one of your five a day. References Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetics, dietitians of canada, and the american college of sports medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,116(3), 501-528.Gleeson, M., Nieman, D. C., & Pedersen, B. K. (2004). Exercise, nutrition and immune function. Journal of sports sciences,22(1), 115-125. Price, C. T., Langford, J. R., & Liporace, F. A. (2012). Essential nutrients for bone health and a review of their availability in the average North American diet. The open orthopaedics journal,6, 143. Wu, Q., Liu, L., Miron, A., Klímová, B., Wan, D., & Kuča, K. (2016). The antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory activities of Spirulina: an overview. Archives of toxicology,90(8), 1817-1840. Kalafati, M., Jamurtas, A. Z., Nikolaidis, M. G., Paschalis, V., Theodorou, A. A., Sakellariou, G. K., … & Kouretas, D. (2010). Ergogenic and antioxidant effects of spirulina supplementation in humans. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,42(1), 142-151. Liu, R. H. (2013). Health-promoting components of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal,4(3), 384S-392S. Otsuki, T., Shimizu, K., Iemitsu, M., & Kono, I. (2012). Chlorella intake attenuates reduced salivary SIgA secretion in kendo training camp participants. Nutrition journal,11(1), 103. Kreider, R. B., Wilborn, C. D., Taylor, L., Campbell, B., Almada, A. L., Collins, R., & Kerksick, C. M. (2010). ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition,7 (1), 7. Written By Ted Munson (Performance Nutritionist) Ted is a Performance Nutritionist here at Science in Sport.