Anti-inflammatory food for runners

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When we do a physical activity such as running or weight training, our body undergoes stress. The stress results in micro-tears in muscles which trigger our immune system to cause inflammation. Our recovery period allows us to repair our muscles and hence get rid of the inflammation so caused. However proper nutrition and certain food can accelerate repair and reduce inflammation. This leads to recovering faster, not feeling fatigued, and overcoming a plateau in the performance. If one misses the aspect of rest and nutrition, it may slowly build to chronic inflammation which can further lead to bigger health issues. Chronic inflammation may lead to heart diseases, lower brain functions, diabetes, impaired immune system, and even cancer.

Anti-inflammatory food

Natural food items rich in fiber, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats help lower inflammation. Eat bright-colored vegetables that are packed with a powerful combination of nutrients having rich anti-inflammatory properties.  Other food items falling in this category are mostly healthy food items such spinach, tomato, and many plant-based foods. When a runner eats these, make sure that you cook a bit extra so as to have more of them. As one increases the intensity of physical activity, the body starts to demand more nutrients.

List of anti-inflammatory food items

Colorful vegetables like red, yellow, and green bell pepper, broccoli, kale, spinach, tomato are excellent in reducing inflammation.

Cherry and cherry juice is another good source. Cherries may be seasonal however juices and concentrates are available. Try to find a juice brand that doesn’t use preservatives.

Fish such as salmon, tuna, etc. are full of omega-3 fatty acids. You can take a supplement if you avoid fish for any reason. Besides other health benefits, they have a huge contribution to lowering inflammation.

Nuts, seeds, and berries such as pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, cucumber seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, dried blueberries, dried red berries, all provide anti-inflammatory properties.

Fruits are packed with disease fighters. Hence one must have at least one portion of fruits a day. They are not only good for anti-inflammation but also an excellent source of vitamins that are absorbed well in our system.

Healthy oils such as olive, flaxseed, canola oils are healthy and help reduce inflammation.

Turmeric is an antiseptic as well as anti-inflammatory and one should use it extensively. Fresh turmeric mixed in milk or other food items while cooking increases the efficacy of all food items in terms of anti-inflammation properties.

Is your plate looking good?

When you engage in physical activity, make sure that your plate is looking good both in terms of quality and quantity. One must aim for half plate vegetables, quarter plate proteins, and a quarter plate of carbohydrates. Those who are into endurance sport may like to increase carbohydrates more. Having knowledge of food items having anti-inflammatory properties simply helps achieve training goals faster.

When to eat such food?

The best is to eat the plate as described above within 60 minutes of finishing of activity. However, anti-inflammatory food should form part of all the meals in some proportion. If you are eating before your run, then give your body at least three hours to properly digest the food and it to reach your system.

Food items to be avoided

There are certain food items that promote inflammation. Items such as refined starch, trans and saturated fats, clear sugar, or products all promote inflammation and you must avoid them or keep their use to the minimum. Avoiding too much red meat is also recommended.

Take home message

It is vital to understand food items that promote anti-inflammation and make them part of our plate in some form or the other. Besides the importance of proteins and carbohydrates, these food items hold a vital place in our daily diet.

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