NUTRITION

1.Body Composition of Runners:

There are different body types of individuals around the Globe. Assessment of body composition is an essential measure of health and fitness both for athletes and the general population. The body composition could affect a particular sport’s performance. The body fat % of an individual varies with age and sex and the desirable body fat of athletes can vary depending on the sport, training level, energy intake. A runner should have a body fat % of around 8 -15% of his total body weight. This is important because fat tends to act as dead mass that has no benefit to the athlete and could lead to decreased performance in them. The skeletal muscle mass of runner’s should be well developed to the endurance activity. Thus, training sessions should comprise of resistance training sessions as well which will lead to muscle cell growth in the desired regions and increase the overall muscle mass of a runner’s body. In runners the leg muscles are the most important muscles that should be prevented from break down and constantly trained to improve the same.

TIP: Get your body assessment done PRONTO and understand scientifically what your targets for training should be. Work on decreasing you visceral and body fat % and increasing your muscle mass, majorly in the legs region.

2.Stay Hydrated!

Marathon Runners are known to fall prey to dehydration due to extensive water loss in terms of sweating during the run. Here is a fact you need not have known before about Hydration.
Consuming water or other fluids is essential while working out, as climatic conditions and increased activity rates increases the rate of fluid loss through sweating and increased respiration rates.
By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Nevertheless, just 1% dehydration can significantly impact your performance. Not only does it compromise psychomotor and visual skills, but also leads to fatigue, dizziness, confusion, muscle cramps, thereby resulting in poor performance.

TIP: Start sipping on fluids before your workout and continue to do so frequently during your workout to prevent dehydration, fatigue, injury and dizziness. After a workout, drink sufficient water to replenish whatever you have lost during the workout!

3.Chia Seeds: Your new best friend

Chia Seeds which are packed with

  • Five times the omega-3 content of a 1/4-cup serving of walnuts.
  • Twice the iron and magnesium of a cup of spinach.
  • Calcium as much as a half-cup of milk.
  • Potassium as much as a third of a banana.
  • More than twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal.
  • Chia is also a potent antioxidant source on par with blueberries and other blue-red fruits.

Some major reasons for a runner to invest in Chia seeds are:-

1.CHIA SEEDS FOR HYDRATION

The best athletic benefits of Chia seeds come from the GOOYE SLIME portion. The seeds outer husk is hydrophilic i.e. Draws in fluid- When mixed in water Chia seeds absorb 10 times their weight in fluid. This is excellent for intra workout mix also great to prehydrate and prolong hydration during intense workout.

2.CHIA SEEDS AS ANTIOXIDANTS AND ANTI INFLAMMATORY

According to Natural Standard Research Collaboration Chia seeds have an antioxidant action as they a compound called Quercitin which causes enhancement of athletic and military performance as it showed increase in VO2 max and endurance capacity in human subjects. Excellent for runners as it contains high ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) which helps reduce inflammation and boost energy.

3.CHIA SEEDS FOR HEALTHY MUSCLE FUNCTION

The other athletic benefits come from the fact that Chia seeds are packed with trace minerals like phosphorous, manganese, calcium, potassium and phytonutrients which support healthy muscle function.

4.CHIA SEEDS FOR ENDURANCE

Chia seeds help improve endurance performance lasting over 90 minutes by serving as a source of carbohydrate loading.
It was seen that beverage containing 50% calories from Chia seeds and 50% from Gatorade had the same effect on athletic performance but better nutritive value (Higher omega 3) as compared to plain Gatorade.
This helped athletes reduce dietary intake of sugar while increase intake of omega 3 fatty acids.

TIP: Start adding 1 Tbsp of chia seeds in your shakes and smoothies and even in fruit juices and bread dough, into your omelettes and pancake batters. Eat them raw as a snack or sprinkle them over your salad!!

Running an endurance event such as the 21 KM marathon requires significant training and preparation to be mentally and physically ready for this gruelling event. Nutrition plays a vital role in preparing one’s body to complete this event; whether it’s a first timer aiming to just cross the finish line or an experienced marathoner hoping to obtain a personal best.

4.Omega for Runners

Omega-3, also known as n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid which is an essential nutrient in the regulation of bodily functions. Its anti inflammatory properties have several benefits for runners.

  • It helps prevent muscle damage and ligament injury prevention in runners .
  • Improvement in brain activity and alertness and reduction in mental fatigue during running.
  • Omega-3 supplements can improve body composition by increasing lean muscle mass and decreasing fat mass and that it can boost the lung function of athletes which will inturn boosts his performance levels.
  • It speeds up recovery in runners post run.

Sources:-

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Fish, plant, and nut oils are the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are two forms of Omega 3 lipids are found in cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, tuna, and herring. ALA another beneficial Omega 3 lipid is found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, walnuts, and walnut oil.

Tip - Include Omega 3 rich foods in your meals.Start simply with: 1 tbsp of flax seeds powder in your salad , curry , oats porridge would help improve your levels signaficantly.

5.Sweet potato

Some Interesting Facts of Sweet Potato.....

  • A cup of mashed sweet potato contains 58 grams of carbohydrates, which acts as a fuel source for running.
  • weet potato ranks low on the glycemic index due which there is good metabolism of carbohydrates, thereby supporting healthy blood sugar levels for runners.
  • Beta-carotene helps to protect your skin from sun damage by deflecting and repairing cell damage caused by excessive UV exposureduring running.
  • Running increase oxidative stress and free radicals, which over time can lead to damaged cells, tissues, and organs. SweetPotato is rich in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, that naturally fights against oxidative stress and the free radicals.

Tip : You could start incorporating sweet potatoes(baked/ boiled) with bean chili or low-fat cheese, herbs and jalapenos, or as a base of curries, stews and soups.100g a day is good enough to build and replenish your glycogen stores.

6.Broccoli – The Green SuperHero

Runners are always looking for foods to eat that will help them with their performance and are good for them. Broccoli is one of those foods. This Crucifer not only helps with running, but is a great food overall. Broccoli is nutritional powerhouse containing Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and phytochemicals, all key for peak performance and health.
Potassium helps your muscles in recovery and growth. It is also required for an overall healthy nervous system. Broccoli contains both calcium and Vitamin K. Both of these nutrients help keep bones healthy. In addition, broccoli contains fiber that runners need in their diet. Vitamin C content of Broccoli is also high. This acts as an excellent anti oxidant. Broccoli contains certain phytonutrients that help in repairing skin damage.
Broccoli also contains good amounts of Chromium that is required for the cartilage health of runners.
It also helps in overall health to lower cholesterol levels, the combination of Vitamin A and K helps correct Vit. D deficiencies, Phytocheimcals like glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin compose a terrific trio in broccoli. Together, they aid all steps of the body's detoxification process, from activation to neutralization and elimination of contaminants.

Tip: You can start eating it raw as a snack with a low calorie dressing; or Steam it & add it to your favorite pasta dish or just as a healthy side to your main course.

7.Dark Chocolate

Chocolate contains potent antioxidants called flavonols that can boost heart health. Other research suggests that the chocolate flavonols ease inflammation and help prevent blood substances from becoming sticky, which lowers the risk of potential blood clots. Dark chocolate generally contains more flavonols than milk chocolate.
Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others.
Dark chocolate is differentiated by the percentage of cocoa it contains. Choose a percentage of 70 or more for the most antioxidants. The way the cocoa beans are processed can influence the potency of the flavonols. Hershey’s Dark Chocolate or Lindt’s are good to be incorporated into your post run meals. The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be great for your skin. The flavonols can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.

Tip: Could start incorporating Dark Chocolate in whole wheat muffins; add dark chocolate syrup into smoothies and shakes to get its antioxidant benefit post run for recovery.

8.Coconut Oil & Water

Coconut water has become the thirst quencher among athletes of all genres. Coconut water is the liquid derived from the fluid inside the coconut.
Coconut water does offer some benefits. It's a natural way to replenish electrolytes after hard workouts. Unsweetened varieties are free of the sugar, artificial sweeteners, or dyes contained in many conventional sports drinks. And it's high in potassium and magnesium, two nutrients the body needs for general health and good performance. It also helps in replenishing these electrolytes lost during perspiration.
Around 240 ml of natural coconut water has approximately 40 calories and nine grams of sugar, compared with approximately 50 calories and 14 grams of sugar for the same serving of Gatorade.
Coconut oil, which is extracted from the endosperm of the coconut contains mainly saturated fat, but of medium-chain triglycerides kind. These medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are absorbed differently than other common dietary fats and used for fuel more quickly than the long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) found in meats and dairy products. Thus these can be used as fuel for marathoners, as they are rapidly burnt out to provide energy.

Tip: 1 tsp of Bulletproof/MCT Oil could help lean runners with a good Fat % to run that extra mile comfortably. Coconut water should be had 30 mins before beginning your run to create a hyper – hydrated state and prevent muscle cramping.

9.Fresh Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranates have long been known as good sources of essential nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and iron. However, the tangy taste of the pomegranate and its juice suggests even more benefit. Both pomegranate skin and juice are rich in natural phenols, the acclaimed phytonutrients that are rich in many reputed super foods such as berries, olive oil, green tea, cacao, coffee, nuts and spices, and various leafy vegetables. Researchers believe that ellagitannin, a phytonutrient found in pomegranates, helps reduce inflammation that causes soreness and weakness.
In particular, pomegrantates are heavy with phenolic molecules such as ellagic acid and quercetin, as well as polyphenolic compounds such as tannins. Much of the fruit's antioxidant capacity is derived from vitamin C and phenolic molecules, both of which seem to be in greater concentrations early in the ripening process.
Pomegranates are also rich in nitrates, much like beet root and dark leafy green vegetables. Nitrates are simple nitrogen- and oxygen-endowed molecules. Both nitrates (NO3) and nitrites (NO2) are thought to contribute to blood vessel nitric oxide (NO) balance within tissue, and especially tissue with high oxygen demands, such as muscle.
During periods when we aren't involved in much of physical activity, our skeletal muscle might receive about 15-20% of the 5 or more litres of blood being pumped by the heart each minute, through tens of thousands of miles of blood vessels. However, during intense, ongoing exercise, the demands made by muscle increase dramatically. As much as 80% of blood flow surges into muscle tissue at this time, delivering oxygen and nutrients while picking up carbon dioxide and heat to be released by the lungs and skin.
During exercise, the muscles struggle to find enough blood. In this situation, excess nitrite can be converted to NO to support vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels) and boost blood flow, delivering more oxygen to muscle tissue. If taken as a pre-workout, as it contains vasodilation-supporting ingredients, this can result in an intense blood rush or "pump" to the muscle.
Studies have also indicated that nitrates and nitrites also have the potential to help the body use oxygen more efficiently, meaning that an athlete could use less oxygen in a given workout, or accomplish more work before getting exhausted. Increased power production, oxygen efficiency, and blood flow are all performance benefits that could appeal to anyone engaged in prolonged exercise like that of running marathons.

Tip: Start sipping on a fresh pomegranate juice 30 mins before/after your training runs and notice the difference within a week.

10.The Power of Mg

Magnesium is the second most abundant element inside human cells and the fourth most abundant positively charged ion in the human body. Magnesium is vital for maintaining health and a regular runner requires more magnesium than a normal individual .

Functions Of magnesium

  • Maintaining nerve function
  • Keeping bones strong
  • Keeping your immune system healthy
  • Maintaining a normal blood pressure
  • This mineral is required for athletes for electrolyte balance, oxygen uptake and energy production for muscle function.
  • Glucose and fat breakdown
  • Production of proteins, enzymes and antioxidants such as glutathione . Increased glutathione levels provides athletes with increased strength and endurance, decreased recovery time from injury, less pain and fatigue and possibly an increase in muscle-promoting activities.

Symptoms of Magnesium deficiency includes : Muscle cramps and spasms, Heart Palpitations, Nausea, Fatigue, Weakness, Appetite Loss and Vomiting.Few top sources of Magnesium include foods like Dark Green Leafy Vegetables , Pumpkin seeds , Fish (Mackeral) , Beans and Lentils(Soyabeans) , Brown Rice , Avocado.

Tip - B vitamins (especially vitamin B6) promote the absorption of magnesium in the gut. Make sure to consume foods containing this combination for efficient absorption of the mineral.

11.Zinc it up!

Zinc plays a essential role in our body enzymes activity, genes expression and different functions in the human body.
The nutritional habits of elite athletes during training and competition are quite different from the recommended diet in the majority of the population. Endurance athletes often adopt an unusual diet in an attempt to enhance performance: an excessive increase in carbohydrates and low intake of proteins and fat may lead to suboptimal zinc intake in 90% of athletes. Mild zinc deficiency is difficult to detect because of the lack of definitive indicators of zinc status. In athletes, zinc deficiency can lead to anorexia, significant loss in bodyweight, latent fatigue with decreased endurance and a risk of osteoporosis.

Importance of Zinc in Athletes:

  • Zinc is essential for a building a healthy immune system in normal individuals and endurance athletes like runners are more prone to colds and upper respiratory tract infections so fueling them with foods rich in Zinc will help them to build their immunity and have a healthier respiratory functioning.
  • Having strong muscles is crucial for running, as this will help you reach high speeds in short bursts or maintain your pace over long periods of time. Consuming zinc may help you strengthen your muscles by increased testosterone levels of athletes after strenuous exercise, while on zinc supplementation. Testosterone is a powerful muscle-building hormone, essential for building lean muscle mass.
  • Zinc's role in muscle protein synthesis also promotes muscle recovery, which can help maintain strength even during a busy workout schedule.
  • Supplemental zinc and magnesium have been shown to improve strength, physical performance and muscle metabolism.
  • Research has shown that adequate zinc levels improve VO2 max.
  • Zinc is necessary to form collagen tissue, to unite bone fractures, to heal wounds, and to prevent osteoporosis from setting in or wear and tear of cartilage.
  • Zinc is involved in the biochemical processes, such as cellular respiration, DNA reproduction, maintenance of cell membrane integrity and free radical scavenging.

Athletes and people who do high-intensity workouts appear to need more zinc than those who are sedentary. This is because, Zinc is necessary to make an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase that picks up “waste” carbon dioxide from tissues and carries it to the lungs to be released. A decline in the ability to do this has a negative impact on endurance and athletic performance.

Sources:

Sea Foods/ Shell fish (Oyester , crabs , shrimps), beef, lamb, beans & lentils fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are good sources of zinc.
The recommended daily intake of zinc is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men. But because some zinc is lost in sweat, athletes may need slightly more. A good amount of 13 mg in male athletes and 11 mg in female athletes daily should do the deal.

Tip: Fatigued out too soon? Breathless and sore post run? Get your Zinc levels tested and start consuming rich food sources 4- 5 times a week.

For more information please contact QUA Nutrtition on +91 7776080000

 

 

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