Super Foods Debunked, Part 2

Posted On Oct 10, 2014 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

Super Foods Debunked - Part 2

What foods and supplements can help me be stronger, quicker, and recover faster?

Curcumin/Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that gives mustard and curry its yellow color. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory that research shows can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation in people who have chronic inflammatory conditions, such as osteo-arthritis. For acute pain and inflammation, such as injuries or exercise-induced inflammation, it doesn’t prove effective.

The Verdict: Take the pill and still enjoy your curry.

It’s nearly impossible to eat enough turmeric through your diet, but through supplements, you can get enough to reap anti-inflammatory and pain reducing benefits.

Green Tea

Green tea and green tea extract supplements are popular for fat loss because of its ability to increase fat oxidation. It isn’t significant enough to make drinking 10-12 cups of green tea per day, the amount needed to notice any effect or taking a supplement, worth it. Green tea from tea bags, not green tea bottled drinks, does have antioxidants and caffeine (discussed below) and can be included in an overall healthy diet.

The Verdict: Continue enjoying a cup or two of unsweetened green tea but don’t expect to lose extra fat.

Caffeine

Whether it’s in pill form, a cup of coffee, or an energy drink, caffeine remains effective for giving people an extra boost of energy during workouts. Having 80mg of caffeine, the average amount in one 8oz cup of coffee, before or during a workout can help you work out harder and longer. Stick with coffee or caffeinated teas rather than energy drinks and soda for an extra edge.

The Verdict: Caffeine, even in small amounts, can give you an extra boost before and during workouts.

Pea Protein

Pea protein is gaining in popularity, but should you be taking it instead of whey protein if your goal is to build muscle? Pea protein and other plant-based protein powders, such as hemp, rice, and soy, lack higher levels of the amino acid, leucine, which is essential for muscle growth. While plant-based proteins are a great alternative for people sensitive to dairy and whey, their amino acid profile falls short when muscle building is the goal.

The Verdict: Stick with whey protein if your goal is muscle building.