Fuel for the Body
What you put into your body greatly influences how it performs, how it fights sickness and disease, and how long it lives. Rokit Fuel® uses whole, plant-based foods to help your body thrive with sustained energy so you can enjoy a long and active life!
Check out these Rokit Fuel ingredients to learn why we use them to help you be as healthy and strong and happy as physically possible:
Unless otherwise noted, research and writing by Mandy Chan, RD, CD, NASM-CPT
American Dietetic Association & American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines:
There are two categories of pre-workout nutrient needs. One period of time to focus on would be about 3-5 hours prior to the event, and another time to fuel 45-60 minute prior to an event. Fueling the body pre-workout is crucial to enhance endurance and quality of the activity. It’s important to obtain adequate nutrients from the diet so that the body has a source of energy to utilize. Ultimately, the body’s peak athletic ability can be reached.
Note that the following are guidelines. Every athlete will have unique specific needs based upon age, gender, height, sport, body composition, and level of training intensity. Enjoying a well-balanced diet high in whole, nutrient dense foods is important for athletes to cover all nutritional bases.
Nutrients that endurance athletes, particularly vegan ones, should pay attention to in order to maintain optimal health include the following: protein, calcium, iron, B-vitamins, foods containing complete amino acid profiles, omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy fat sources.
Research has shown that [almonds] actually lower blood cholesterol levels. 90 percent of the fats in almonds are unsaturated, and they are high in protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, and other antioxidants. Almonds help prevent osteoporosis and they regulate blood pressure (www.naturalnews.com). The high fiber and fat content of almonds allow them to be digested at a slow rate, yielding longer lasting energy and make them satisfying and satiating snacks for active, health-conscious individuals.
Amaranth is a protein-rich cereal grain which contains an exceptionally complete amino acid profile for a plant-based protein. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber and vitamins and minerals (Fe, Mg, P, Mn).
The high Fe content of Amaranth is ideal particularly for vegetarian and vegan athletes to support optimal oxygen delivery in the blood via red blood cells. Fe is a very important component in the endurance athlete’s diet (especially in females) as they’re at high risk for developing iron deficiency anemia, which can ultimately lead to fatigue and weakness.
It’s important to also note that Amaranth has about 30% more protein than other cereal grains such as oats, rice, and rye.
Barley is a great source of carbohydrates and fiber.
Blueberries are rich in fiber and carbohydrates. They are highly antioxidant concentrated. One antioxidant, in particular, vitamin C is found in great amounts in this dried fruit. One full cup of fresh blueberries, for instance, provides 25% of the daily requirement of vitamin C (www.eatright.org). Vitamin C is an important vitamin in the gut for the absorption of iron, especially plant-based iron (in the case of vegans and vegetarians). Vitamin C facilitates the chemical reaction in the small intestine of ferric iron (plant-based iron, which is often difficult for the intestines to absorb), into ferrous iron (readily absorbable iron) when paired with iron-rich foods.
Ultimately, adequate iron intake and absorption in vegetarian athletes will provide for better oxygen uptake by red blood cells, providing higher levels of energy, better mental clarity, less fatigue (mental as well as physical).
Tart cherries are rich in fiber and carbohydrates. They are highly antioxidant concentrated. One antioxidant in particular, vitamin C is found in great amounts. They have a good amount of Vitamin C, which is an important vitamin in the gut for the absorption of iron, especially plant based iron (in the case of vegans and vegetarians). Vitamin C facilitates the chemical reaction in the small intestine of ferric iron (plant based iron, which is often difficult for the intestines to absorb), into ferrous iron (readily absorbable iron) when paired with iron-rich foods.
Ultimately, adequate iron intake and absorption in vegetarian athletes will provide for better oxygen intake by red blood cells, providing higher levels of energy, better mental clarity, less fatigue (mental as well as physical).
Chocolate, Semi Sweet Dark:
Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, dark chocolate (in moderation and small quantities) is helpful in protecting the heart and cells from damaging oxidative factors found in our environment.
Flavonoids help protect plants by shielding them from environmental toxins and helping repair damage. When we consume plant-based foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power. Antioxidants are believed to help the body's cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing and environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke. When the body lacks adequate levels of antioxidants, damage from free radicals occurs and leads to increases in LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation (oxidized LDL-cholesterol hurts the arteries) and plaque formation on the walls of the arteries.
Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research indicates that flavanols have other positive influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to the brain and heart, making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, and lowering cholesterol. (www.my.clevelandclinic.org)
Chia seeds have been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Today, they draw the interest of many people for their health benefits and uses in cooking. It turns out chia seeds are a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds' lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids -- specifically, of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.
Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration.
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism and a part of DNA synthesis.
Satiety is the feeling of being full and satisfied, which helps lower food cravings between meals. The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their satiating effects.
Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be obtained on a gluten-free diet.
Unlike flaxseeds, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to obtain their nutrient or egg-
A study published in the "British Journal of Nutrition" showed that chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or "good" cholesterol. The study also found that when substituting chia seeds for other fat sources, such as corn oil, the ALA was able to prevent high triglyceride levels and reduce central obesity.
Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.
Cloves contain a compound called Eugenol, which may benefit and protect the heart due to anti-inflammatory properties.
Dates are high in fiber and K (potassium). The high fiber content of dates makes them a great food to support superior gut health, prevent or treat constipation, and some studies even show that dates are beneficial in preventing certain types of cancer due to their high vitamin and mineral (antioxidant) content.
Cinnamon has been used to alleviate indigestion, stomach cramps, intestinal spasms, nausea, and flatulence, and to improve the appetite, and treat diarrhea.
A number of additional medicinal properties have been reported for cinnamon. In folk medicine it was used for treating rheumatism and other inflammations. Its mild anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and anti-clotting properties are believed to be due to its content of cinnamaldehyde (Winston Craig, MPH, PhD, RD. http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/herbs/cinnamon.php) .
Cinnamon is also used as a treatment in diabetics to provide blood sugar control. In endurance athletes, cinnamon’s potential blood-sugar-controlling ability is ideal to prevent crashes in energy to allow an athlete to maximize his or her performance.
Flax seed has been around for quite some time, but it wasn’t until recently that many people realized just how beneficial it was for athletes. Flax seed contains high amounts of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that is converted in the body to hormone-like compounds that play an important role in construction of healthy cell walls, transportation of oxygen to body cells, proper growth of tissues such as muscle, and metabolism of energy for the heart muscle. [Athletes’ bodies, particularly of endurance athletes undergo catabolic reactions for long periods of time due to the stress placed on the body, so flax seeds are beneficial in accelerating the tissue repair process.] The proper metabolism of these fatty acids is especially beneficial for athletes participating in endurance sports to allow the athlete to continue on after their glycogen stores are used up. (flaxmatters.com)
The flax seed has highly anti-inflammatory properties and is a great source of Mg, P, Cu, dietary fiber, thiamin, Mn, protein, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, amino acids, and polyunsaturated fat (USDA).
Ginger: [Source: nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/961.html]
Ginger is commonly used to treat various types of “stomach problems,” including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery, as well as loss of appetite. Other uses include treating upper respiratory tract infections, cough, and bronchitis. Dried ginger is used for chest pain, low back pain, and stomach pain.
Gotu Kola (a functional herb):
This is not a caffeine product. Gotu Kola is a rejuvenate nervine recommended for nervous disorders, epilepsy, senility and premature aging. As a brain tonic, it is said to aid intelligence and memory. It strengthens the adrenal glands and cleanses the blood to treat skin impurities. It is said to combat stress and depression, increase libido and improve reflexes. It has also been indicated for chronic venous insufficiency, minor burns, scars, scleroderma, skin ulcers, varicose veins, wound healing, rheumatism, blood diseases, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, venereal diseases, hepatitis and high blood pressure.
Hemp Seed - raw shelled hemp seed is one of nature's perfect foods - a Super Food. This is one of the most potent foods available, supporting optimal health and well being, for life. Raw hemp provides a broad spectrum of health benefits, including: weight loss, increased and sustained energy, rapid recovery from disease or injury, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced inflammation, improvement in circulation and immune system as well as natural blood sugar control.
The seed of the hemp plant is a highly versatile and nutrient-rich food that can be used to make a variety of products. Hemp seeds are especially noted for their high concentrations of omega fatty acids, which can help prevent heat disease and promote overall health. In addition, hemp seeds can be used to formulate high-quality protein supplements, for those who do not eat animal products.
Maca root helps balance our hormones and due to an over abundance of environmental estrogens, most people’s hormones are a bit out of whack. Maca stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which are the “master glands” of the body. These glands actually regulate the other glands, so when in balance they can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands. Maca root has been shown to be beneficial for female hormonal problems including PMS, menopause, and hot flashes. It’s also a fertility enhancer and is best known for improving libido and sexual function, especially in men.
Nutmeg contains a compound called Eugenol, which may benefit and protect the heart due to anti-inflammatory properties.
Nutmeg has anti-bacterial properties. Some studies suggest that nutmeg may improve memory, serves as a muscle relaxant, and combat asthma. It is often used as a remedy to treat nausea and in Chinese medicine, Nutmeg is used as a treatment for impotence and liver disease. One should keep in mind that there is no scientific evidence to back any of these claims so both nutmeg and cloves should be used with caution in regards to treatment of diseases and conditions.
Note: nutmeg must be taken in small amounts (a pinch or two is adequate) to prevent acute psychiatric disorders and possibly seizures due to a compound called Myristicin. (www.wellbeing.com)
Oats are a complex carbohydrate food. They are great for endurance athletes because of their slow digestibility in the gut. A slow rate of digestion allows for steady blood sugar in the athlete over a longer period of time therefore sustaining the athlete during endurance physical activity. As a result of this steady level of glucose in the blood, the athlete will experience greater levels of energy, less fatigue, and ultimately greater exertion in the activity to go longer for longer periods of time. This slow absorption is due to the low-glycemic index of oats. Note that since oats and other whole grains are very high in fiber, the endurance athlete must be sure to consume plenty of water along with them to prevent intestinal cramping and dehydration (fiber swells in the presence of liquid, therefore ingesting too much fiber can pull fluid away from the gut and cause issues such as dehydration, constipation, and intestinal cramping- that is, when taken without adequate water).
In addition to complex carbohydrates, oats are rich in iron, fiber, protein, and vitamin B’s.
Good source of Avenanthramote (which exists predominantly in the groats of oat seeds). In in-vitro studies, avenanthramote possesses significant antioxidant activities. It has been proven to decrease oxidation of LDL-cholesterol, to ultimately prevent certain cancers and heart disease. Due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties, avenanthramore also has anti-itch characteristics which make this ingredient of oats effective in providing effective symptomatic relief of dry skin and itching.
Interesting fact: Aveeno, a popular skin-care line specializing in moisturizing lotions and cleansers, uses oats as a key ingredient because of the Avenanthramote skin-soothing capabilities- hence the name Aveeno.
Pecans are nuts that are rich in Mn, mono and poly-unsaturated fats, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, thiamin, Cu, and phytosterols. They add a nice nutty taste and texture to foods but note that in high amounts, they become very caloric due to their high fat content. Since pecans have very little carbohydrates in them, they do not have a glycemic index assigned to them. The high protein and fat content of pecans (like most nuts) make them ideal for athletes because they are very satiating, and digested slowly to provide a steady and slow stream of energy and nutrients.
This low-fat, low-calorie food is a nutritional powerhouse of immune-supporting anti-oxidants and other vitamins and minerals. For instance, pumpkin flakes are rich in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin A and C. Such antioxidants are critical to optimal health in athletes to counteract the high levels of oxidative stress that is placed upon the body and cells. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals is also important to allow for maximal energy production within cells.
Great source of fiber and simple carbs to achieve great energy levels. Raisins are an excellent source of the electrolyte, K. Because they’re so calorically dense and rich in various vitamins and minerals, they are ideal for the long distance athlete and health-conscious individual.
Rye is another whole grain which is a member of the wheat family (therefore, rye is not a gluten-free food). Rye is also a low-glycemic index food and gets digested slowly in the body allowing for sustained levels of energy and great blood sugar control. Like with rolled oats, rye should be consumed with plenty of water to ensure the endurance doesn’t become dehydrated or experience intestinal cramping.
Rye is an excellent source of plant based iron, protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber.
Sea salt contains the same nutritional value as table salt- the difference is that sea salt is more natural (less processed). Since sea salt is often times very minimally processed, iodine-an essential nutrient for thyroid health, may be missing. However, the American diet provides for plenty of Iodine from other sources (seafood, some vegetables grown in mineral-rich soil, and processed foods) so iodine deficiency should not be of concern. Sea salt enhances the sweetness of foods. In regards to athleticism, sea salt would be a great source of the important electrolyte, sodium (Na).
Electrolytes are lost through sweat in the athlete and must be replaced as they are critical in maintaining optimal fluid balance within cells to allow for proper function. Adequate amounts of sodium (taken with plenty of pure water) are ideal to prevent fatigue and dehydration during long events- particularly in hot weather where sweating occurs at a higher rate.
Sesame seeds are a very good source of manganese and copper (Cu), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber.
Copper may provide relief for and/or prevention from rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory ability.
Magnesium supports the vascular and respiratory systems. This mineral plays a significant role in decreasing high blood pressure (which is a contributing factor to heart conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and diabetes-related heart disease). Some studies suggest that Magnesium may help to regulate sleep patterns in women.
Zinc is an important mineral in bone health by increasing one’s bone density (in conjunction with a diet adequate in calcium and vitamin D). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a clear correlation between low dietary intake and blood levels of zinc and the development of osteoporosis at the hip and spine (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). Athletes who participate in high-impact exercises should be sure to take dietary (and supplementary, if necessary) approaches to maintain bone density and avoid fractures and loss of calcium in bones.
In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesame and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage (www.whfoods.org).
Sugar, Dark Brown Cane:
Dark brown sugar is a simple sugar, with a glycemic index of 64/70. While the fitness and wellness worlds emphasize the importance and health benefits of complex carbohydrates, endurance athletes are prone to hypoglycemia after long athletic events, as mentioned earlier. The high glycemic index of brown sugar actually is ideal for athletes to ingest during physical activity because it is a fast absorbing carbohydrate and therefore aids to keep the blood sugar steady during the duration of the event and ultimately, the athlete will experience less fatigue and have more energy to complete activity with comfort and optimal energy. Glucose is the body’s main source of energy and in the endurance athlete, the need for glucose (as well as other nutrients, to be discussed later) is in higher demand as it is utilized at a much quicker rate. An example which we may be more familiar with is the supplement, Gatorade, which consists of simple sugars and electrolytes to support cellular fluid balance and prevent hypoglycemia. Moral of the story: simple carbohydrates during high endurance activities are more ideal than complex carbohydrates because they get absorbed into the bloodstream faster.
Sunflower seeds are very rich sources of Vitamin E, an important antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative damage and inflammation. The endurance athlete is especially prone to cellular oxidative damage and inflammation due to stressors placed on them body resulting from intense physical activity. Inflammation in athletes can lead to conditions such as arthritis, and fatigue. Sunflower seeds are also high in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and phytosterols (derived from phytochemicals found in plants that have been clinical proven to decrease blood cholesterol and have a protective effect to the heart and cardiovascular system).
Walnuts may help reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. They provide protein, folic acid, niacin, magnesium, selenium, zinc and other important vitamins and minerals. Walnuts (like other nuts) also contain more unsaturated fats than animal proteins (www.eatright.org). It’s important to include healthy sources of fats in the diet, particularly for athletes to provide adequate joint lubrication and allow for maximal absorption and utilization of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).
Whole wheat is as the name describes- “whole”. Being whole means that the wheat is unrefined, containing the bran, germ and endosperm of the grain. These parts of the grain are where various nutrients are held such as dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals such as iron and niacin, and Fe. (www.eatright.org)
Whole wheat is a good source of complex carbohydrates which is great for building muscle glycogen, stored energy, in athletes during long-distance events. The fiber in whole wheat (as well as other whole grains) is great for gut health and detoxification of the body.