Q: Last year my season was riddled with injury and illness. How can I change my diet to stay healthy?
A: What we eat all day long, and specifically before and after training sessions or races, greatly affects our immunity and injury rates. Research shows athletes suffer from more cases of upper respiratory tract infections and injuries following heavy training or depletive racing. Here are my top five recommendations for boosting immunity and decreasing injury rate:
Try to eat at least three servings of brightly colored (and varied) fruit daily. Luckily that’s easy this time of year! Yes, bananas are great before a workout, but blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, melons and plums are also good choices to get in the much-needed vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants to keep your body at its best. Vow to include one serving of fruit with breakfast daily, and two for snacks. Or dice and add fruits to grain-based dishes (think couscous and apricots, wheat berries and blueberries, or quinoa and strawberries). These are great for lunch or dinner, picnics or post-workout snacks. Smoothies made with 1.5 cups of whatever fruits you can find locally and low-fat milk or yogurt are great for breakfast, snacks or post-workout recovery. Add greens (see No. 2) for extra credit! Add nuts or seeds (see No. 5) for double extra credit!