The Fuel Tank

Eating to maintain your energy levels

A new calendar can be a great motivator to do things differently, including eating more nutritiously. As with all resolutions, give yourself a fair chance of keeping those resolutions by making them realistic. For example, aim to have one more serving of fruits or vegetables a day--perhaps as a mid-afternoon snack. Tomorrow when the four o’clock munchies hit, try eating an orange or a plate of raw veggies with hummus dip. This is a specific goal, doable at a scheduled time of day. For a few minutes of effort, your New Year’s resolution (at least one of them) is still intact and the benefits are many!

Fueling between lunch and dinner helps prepare you for a late afternoon workout and it will also prevent you from being ravenous at dinnertime. When hunger gets out of control, it is harder to make nutritious choices--you just want food!!! Fueling at regular intervals maintains energy levels as well. Additionally, fruits and veggies are the best sources of immune-supporting nutrients. Winter is traditionally flu and cold season, and we all want to avoid the complications of being sick. No time for that--we have training goals! Vitamins A, C and E are all known to play important roles in immune function. Most North Americans are not deficient in either vitamin A or E. On the other hand, people with low intakes of fruits and vegetables also have not optimized their vitamin C intakes. Hundreds of studies have been done on the use of vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of the common cold.

Although supplementation, especially at doses greater than 500 mg/day, cannot be recommended for the average athlete, greater intake of foods and juices rich in vitamin C seems to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections. Bring on the oranges, kiwis, mangos, grapefruit, strawberries, red peppers, spinach, broccoli, snow peas, tomatoes, kale and collard greens! Foods which contain certain probiotics have also been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of colds. Probiotics will be the topic of a future Fuel Tank column. In 2012, maintain your energy and reduce your chances of getting a miserable head cold by being well nourished.

All the best with your New Year’s resolutions!

Santé (which means: to your good health)!