We’ve all heard different ideas and techniques to help us recover quicker after a ride or run. Here is some of the latest research on various foods, drinks and ice baths. I’m particularly interested in following the ice bath debate as they are uncomfortable – I’d rather have chocolate milk…
The following article came from Runner’s World but has the similar recovery applications as running.
BLUEBERRIES PROTECT YOU ON LONG RUNS
Physiologists from Appalachian State University gave runners a cup of blueberries daily for six weeks; a second group had no blueberries. Participants then ran for two-and-a-half hours. The results (published in May) show the berry-eating runners had more immune cells and less inflammation and oxidative damage before and after the run. Researchers believe anthocyanidins in blueberries are responsible for the protective benefits.
ACTION: During training, have blueberries or other anthocyanidin-rich foods (blackberries, pomegranate juice) daily.
A PINT OF BEER HELPS PREVENT COLDS
In a study from Munich University published this year, runners drank one to one-and-a-half liters of nonalcoholic beer (NAB) daily for three weeks and then ran a marathon. Afterward they drank NAB for two more weeks. Compared to nondrinkers, the NAB group had more killer T-cells (a sign of a strong immune system) and three times fewer postrace respiratory-tract infections. Nonalcoholic and alcoholic beer contain polyphenols from brewing grains that may reduce colds.
ACTION: Drink a moderate amount (12 ounces) of regular or nonalcoholic beer per day and eat whole grains like barley.
ICE BATHS HINDER MUSCLE REFUELING
Participants in a study released this year from the University of Montana rode a bike for 90 minutes to deplete their glycogen (or energy) levels. Over the next four hours they intermittently soaked one leg in an ice bath while sipping a carb recovery drink. Researchers found that the iced leg replenished only half as much glycogen as the leg that wasn’t iced.
ACTION: To ensure your muscles are fully fueled for the next day’s workout, skip or postpone the ice bath and follow a hard run with a high-carb meal.
CHOCOLATE MILK HELPS YOU LOSE BODY FAT
About 30 men and women participated in a four-and-a-half week training program at the University of Texas at Austin that included cycling hard for an hour a day, five days a week. Right after their ride and again an hour later, subjects drank chocolate milk or a carb beverage. The 2011 study found that chocolate milk? drinkers gained more lean muscle and lost more body fat (thanks to milk’s protein) than those downing the carb drink.
ACTION: To help shed body fat and boost muscle gains, follow long workouts with a tall glass of chocolate milk.
MANY ATHLETES ARE VITAMIN D DEFICIENT
Eighty-five percent of athletes at the University of Montana have sub-optimal vitamin Dlevels in the winter, scientists there reported in a study published in February; 25 percent are deficient in the fall. Those with low levels have a higher rate of flu and colds. The body makes vitamin D, which builds bone and reduces injury risk, when exposed to UV rays; since exposure drops in the winter, production drops, too.
ACTION: Take 600 to 1,000 IU daily of vitamin D, and eat plenty of vitamin D? rich foods, such as salmon and milk (the latter is fortified with the nutrient).
Running the Numbers
360: IU (international units) of vitamin D found in a single three-ounce serving of fresh salmon
530: IU of vitamin D in one three-ounce serving of canned salmon in oil