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FOOD FOR…..Spring Running

Spring is in the air and the new season’s fruits and vegetables are ready to pick and enjoy…but have you ever considered how these delicious and healthy foods may support your running training and performance? In this episode we delve into the nutritional properties of FOUR seasonal foods and outline how they may support YOUR running performance. The foods discussed are:

  • Cucumber
  • Mint
  • Spring onion
  • Purple sprouting broccoli



The humble cucumber contains at least 73 different phytonutrients as well as many micronutrients of which vitamin K is the most abundant. In fact a100g serving of cucumber contains 19% of the Govt RDA. A focus is given to the benefits of vitamin K for a runner before moving on to discuss 2 key phytonutrients, Quercetin and Naringenin. We delve into their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and how they could help reduce a runner’s risk of injury and illness. Additional attention is given to their water content and its ability to maintain hydration. 



Mint comes from the family of herbs that also includes oregano, rosemary sage plus many others and there are at least 25 varieties of mint, however the 2 most popular mint varieties are peppermint and spearmint. Mint’s essential oils are thought to be the most health promoting aspect of mint, but mint leaf and rosmarinic acid within mint are known to support digestive health and reduce the severity of symptoms of hayfever. We delve into these nutrients and outline how they could support a running in training throughout springtime when hayfever tends to be at its worst. 



Spring onion comes from the allium family of vegetables. which includes garlic and both come from the larger LILY family, which also includes chives, and leeks. Spring onions are grown in warmer climates than regular onions and have a milder and sweeter flavour, The principle nutrients discussed that would support a runner are Allyl Propyl Disulphide (APDS), which ate known to support blood sugar balance and saponins and sapogenins, which are antimicrobial so may help protect against infections and illness.  



Purple sprouting broccoli (PSB) contains all the nutritional properties of regular broccoli, but with added colour and flavour, The purple heads of broccoli start to bud in February in preparation for harvest in the springtime unlike regular broccoli, which is not in season until the summertime. Broccoli comes from the cabbage family. It is a brassica/cruciferous vegetable with a very high vitamin C content, which is important as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory nutrient. Here the focus is on the health benefits of the glucosinolates, of which sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol are two important ones known to encourage the excretion of excess oestrogen hormones. Important nutrients for runners suffering PMS, peri-menopause symptoms or suffering from any other oestrogen driven condition to consider. 



  1. Food ideas for Cucumber: Raita with toasted pumpkin seeds, gazpacho soup, green juice or smoothie
  2. Food ideas for Mint: Tabbouleh, fresh mint tea, aubergine and mint side dish, pea/mint and feta dip
  3. Food ideas for Spring onion: tomato and onion salad, stir fry, guacamole, green egg scramble
  4. Food ideas for Purple Sprouting Broccoli: sauteed with garlic and sesame seeds, broccoli and blue cheese quiche, Sprouted purple broccoli salad, baked broccoli with chilli and lemon yoghurt, broccoli and salmon super salad bowl



Breakfast – Cucumber, Apple and Fresh Mint Juice followed by Green Egg Scramble

Lunch – Roasted Augberine and Quinoa Mint Taboulleh Salad

Evening Meal – Roasted Chicken served with a side dish of purple sprouted broccoli with chilli and lemon yoghurt dressing and baby potato salad with fresh mint

Snacks – 

  • Cucumber Slices topped with Hummus
  •  Pea, Mint and Feta Dip with Oatcakes
  • Fresh Mint and Ginger Tea served with squares of dark chocolate
  • Cup of Gazpacho Soup



  1. The key nutrients in Cucumber are Vitamin K and Silica to support connective tissue and bone health.  This is important for a runner to help prevent soft tissue injury and reduce the risk of experiencing stress fractures and the development of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Cucumber also contains an array of phytonutrients, which are anti-inflammatory, therefore could help prevent a runner becoming injured, but also encourage speedy recovery form any injury sustained. 
  2. The key nutrients in Mint are its essential oils and Rosmarinic acid to support digestion and the immune system. It is thought to be quite effect tive against hayfever, which is the blight of many springtime runners. Also, many runners suffer from digestive distress, especially bloating, and flatulence.  
  3. The key nutrients in Spring Onions are Allyl Propyl Disulphide and the saponins and sapogenins to support blood sugar balance and the immune system. This may be helpful to runners who afre prone to transient hypoglycaemia and/or frequent injury such as shin splints, tendonitis. 
  4. The key nutrients in Purple Sprouting Broccoli are Sulphoraphane and indole-3-carbinol to support the excretion of excess oestrogen, which would be helpful to any female runner who suffers from PMS, Per-menopause symptoms or any other conditions/symptoms associated with oestrogen dominanace.

Related Episodes:

Avoiding Digestive Issues as a Runner

Perimenopause and performance

Hormonal Balance and Running


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and

advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact

your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.

Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.

We are excited to be able to share our expertise, experience and short cuts with you. We hope you’ll join us again. If you’d like to know more about us and She Runs Eats Performs please check out our TRAILER.

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Happy Running!

Aileen and Karen