The closer we get to the marathon starting line, the more likely you’re already dreaming of crossing the finish line into a recovery fueled by delicious food.
It is inevitable that inflammation will affect your body after the 26.2 mile journey – but there are specific anti-inflammatory choices you can make ahead of time in order to better control it and ensure a faster recovery.
How can you better combat inflammation as an athlete?
Tip #1 Hydrate
Dehydration can decrease saliva rate and therefore the production of Salivary IgA. SIgA is a key player in protecting vulnerable areas of the body (ie. oral cavity, lungs, and gut) from invading pathogens.
Stay hydrated by fueling before, during, and post exercise – and by recovering with at least 150% of fluids lost during activity.
Tip #2 Fuel your good gut bugs
The majority of the immune system resides in your gut!
Intense exercise can take a toll on the immune system by compromising the integrity of the intestinal barrier leading to “leaks” and increased permeability. Feeding your gut flora with pre- and probiotics is essential to maintain a healthy balance of flora and support intestinal barrier function.
Incorporate sources of prebiotic fiber like garlic, Jeruselum artichoke, and asparagus and try natural sources of probiotics including fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented beets) and grass-fed and organic dairy with active and live cultures (kefir, cultured butter, yogurt).
Tip #3 Get your vitamins…on your plate!
Take a food first approach to fighting inflammatory free radicals.
Key nutrients involved in antioxidant actives include lipoid acid, vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, ubiquinol, selenium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, and flavonoids
Aim for at least 2 cups of vegetables at meal times and incorporate anti-inflammatory food sources such as turmeric, cruciferous vegetables (arugula and bok choi), raw nuts and seeds (brazil nuts and macadamia nuts), wild-caught fatty fish (salmon, sardines), and chlorophyll rich foods (cilantro, parsley, and kelp).
Controlling inflammation is essential for athletes and in general, it’s ideal for everyone’s overall health. If you are looking to optimize your health through clinical nutrition, our Functional Medicine team is here to support your health and wellness journey. Fighting inflammation can help resolve and prevent a variety of health concerns including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure, to name a few.
For more information about Functional Medicine or to schedule an appointment, click here!