Our winter health aims as a runner, are to protect against winter infections, support the immune function and promote circulation and blood flow in the cold weather.
In this episode we focus on 4 seasonal fruits and vegetables to support health and running performance during the winter months.
We outline the nutritional properties of each and consider how they can form part of your meal plan with some menu ideas.
Finally, we share an example 1-day meal plan using these 4 winter foods.
The 4 foods we discuss are; Butternut Squash, Cranberries, Pears and Beetroot
Nutritional Properties of Butternut Squash – a great source of carbohydrate, Vitamin C, and B vitamins – supportive of immune system, energy production and soft tissue support.
Nutritional Properties of Cranberries – packed full of phytonutrients, in particular proanthocyanidin (PAC) helpful to prevent and treat infections. Many studies highlight positive effect on urinary tract infections. The key mechanism being that PACs inhibit the adhesion of bacteria to the wall of the urinary tract.
Nutritional Properties of Pears – contain the phytonutrient epicatechin, a compound thought to be involved in the contraction and relaxation of arteries, so supportive of our cardiac cardiac health.
Nutritional Properties of Beetroot – contain nitrates which help promote blood flow and they have been shown to help dilate blood vessels. This helps to enable an increase and efficient flow of oxygen through the blood vessels, which clearly is going to provide us with more energy and for our running. Beet greens are also nutrient dense providing calcium, iron and vitamin C.
KEY TAKE AWAYS:
- Butternut Squash for carbohydrate, vitamin C, and B vitamins for fuel, energy and supporting your immune system
- Cranberries for Proanthocyanidin (PAC) to support immune system, protect against infections, especially urinary tract infections
- Pears for Epicatechin to support blood flow and contraction and relaxation of arteries
- Beetroot for nitrates to support dilation of blood vessels and efficient flow of oxygen via blood vessels