Six winter boosters for runners

They are everywhere, the viruses. Especially during the cold time of the year. Unfortunately, this is the time when us humans are the most prone to illnesses. All the colds and the flus can mess up our running plans. The strategy to go for is: prevention. Natural health boosters, which can easily be integrated in our daily nutrition, are valuable helpers. We are going to present to you six boosters, complemented by simple ideas for recipes. 

On the one hand, moderate movement in fresh air supports our immune system in general. However, especially after intense sessions and training weeks, it is likely that our body is more vulnerable, since it needs more energy to recover. We can prevent illnesses by changing to dry gear as quickly as possible, to put on a hat (keeps the warmth) and to avoid too large groups of people. And for an extra energy kick and for better recovery, we recommend to make generous use of the following natural boosters: cinnamon, bananas, oats, ginger, beetroot and citrus fruits.

The spice: cinnamon

Zimt, Cinnamon

Many people associate cinnamon with Christmas. However, it pays off to use the magic spice the whole year, since the effects on your health are manifold: It lowers your blood sugar level, it improves your blood lipid levels, it stimulates your circulation, it protects the blood vessels and it has anti-inflammatory and pain-inhibiting effects both in arthrosis and sports injury therapy.

The classic among fruits: bananas

Before the competition or after the competiton: bananas and runners – they go hand in hand. Bananas provide fast accessible sugars and a lot of minerals (magnesium, potassium, phosphorous) as well as vitamin E. Since they are, as oppsed to other fruits, rich in carbohydrates, they are perfectly suitable for a snack both before or after running training.

Carbohydrates: oats

Oats are rich in oughage and they contain a lot of carbohydrates. Since they have a low clycemic index, they don’t make our blood sugar level rise too fast. Thus, they keep you full for a long time and they provide you with energy for a long period of time. Especially before long runs or in the morning before competitions they are ideal suppliers of energy.

Ideas for recipes (quantities calculated for 1 person) 

Porridge for breakfast or as a snack between meals

1.5-2dl of milk or water (blending is possible)

40g of oats

a bit of cinnamon

Boil everything up and let it boil at low temperature for a couple of minutes

Subsequently, sweeten as you please with, for example, maple syrup and top with bananas or/and nuts

 

Cinnamon bananas as a snack

Chop up 1 banana in small pieces and spice it with cinnamon

 

Powersmoothie with banana for recovery

Put 1 chopped up banana in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Then, mix this with a table spoon of oats, 1.5dl of milk and a little bit of cinnamon. Here, you may even want to add some sports nutrition recovery powder (e.g. with chocolate flavour).

Sweeten as you please (e.g. with 3 dried dates, maple syrup etc.).

And we go on with three further boosters…

The spice: ginger

Ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect and it especially influences recovery positively. Especially after training, when we are more vulnerable to viruses, ginger can have a preventive effect.

Vegetable: beetroot

We have already provided a blog entry about the positive effects of beetroot in connection with endurance performance (see here). Beetroot contains a lot of nitrate, which, through digestion processes, can lead to expansion of blood vessles, as well as to an increased efficiency of the mitochondria. Further, beetroot is rich in folate, which improves muscular recovery

Power fruits: citrus fruits

Citrus fruits contain lots of vitamin C – THE booster. Therefore, especially in winter you should include it in your diet during winter as an energy kick both before and after sports. A sufficient amount of vitamin C is important for a well-functioning immune system.

Ideas for recipes (quantities calculated for 1 person) 

Beetroot salad with orange and grapefruit as a starter or for the small hunger as a main

Take approximately 125g of beetroot (pre-cooked) chopped in cubes or grated.

Fillet grapefruit and oranges, extract the juice.

Blend the juice with oliv oil and spices for a sauce and pour it over the salad. 

Chop up a handful of walnuts and roast them in a frying pan without oil, then scatter them over the salad as  a topping. 

Depending on how hungry you are, you could also fry some bread cubes (old bread is very suitable for that) to top the salad with, or you could spice it up with some feta cheese. 

 

Ginger-lemon water as a start to your day

Pour hot water over fresh lemon and ginger slices. Sweeten with honey if you like. 

 

Powersmoothie with beetroot

Mix approximately 125g of beetroot (pre-cooked)

with the juice of 1-2 citrus fruits (grapefruit, orange)

a dash of lemon juice

a small piece of ginger

1dl of water and a couple of ice cubes. 

Sweeten as you please (e.g. with 3 dried dates, maple syrup etc.).

 

And not to forget: water

Drink, drink, drink – those who sweat a lot need to dink a lot, too. Already minor dehydrations can have a negative effect on your performance. As active sports people, we need even more water. Also, on training days we should pay extra attention to sufficient water intake. If you don’t like pure water too much, you can always spice it up with some fruit or vegetables (e.g. cucumbers) as well as fresh mint.

 

This blog entry was written by: Stefanie Meyer

This post is also available in DE and FR.

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