Tuesday, January 09, 2007


While I was on Holiday this past weekend in sunny Florida, I had a chance to catch up on some reading and came across some interesting articles about training and nutrition. The article was about inflammation and the healing process of muscle fibers. Every time you work out you injure your muscles by making tiny tears in them, "this is part of your body's response to heal those micro tears to build stronger tissue." States Dr DiNubile, orthopedic surgeon. Inflammation is the important part of healing. Dampening that inflammation by using over the counter Tylenol or Ibuprofen like M&M's can also dampen the healing process. Even more interesting is the foods we digest. Poor nutrition can also hinder muscle growth and performance in the long run. This research was published in March of 2002 in the American Journal of Physiology. They concluded bottom line is nutrition and adequate recovery between workouts is key to over all performance.

The food choices you make modulate inflammation and can make it work for or against you. The article states, concentrate on the basics, eating whole grain foods and avoid highly processed and refined grains. Avoiding saturated fat, sugar and highly processed foods is a no brainer. Anti-inflammatory diets consists of increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, like cold water fish such as salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds. Other foods listed that have anti-inflammatory properties include curcumin which is a spice in turmeric. Ginger, green tea, onions and garlic which contain quercetin which is like a antihistamine and anti-inflammatory and even anti-tumor properties. Pineapple which contains an enzyme called bromelain, which controls inflammation in soft tissues and muscles. Tart cherries such as cherry juice may reduce symptoms of muscle damage and enhance recovery after workouts. Other anti-inflammatory fruits include blueberries, apples and red and green grapes. Sounds like diets especially high in fruits is key to reduce inflammation.

I had a lot of time to relax, recover and think about things while lying around on the beach this weekend. I think I do a pretty good job with what I eat on a daily basis. I avoid processed foods most of the time, especially when away from home. At home, we always cook with fresh ingredients and usually spend quite a bit of time and money on preparing meals from scratch. But I still don't think my diet is a 100% geared toward peak performance. How anal can one get with nutrition for endurance sports? Are there any of you who take it serious about fueling your body with the proper nutrients ALL THE TIME? I would really like to learn more about fueling my body with clean nutritients, and see how others do it? Maybe I have gone a bit over the edge with this stuff, but I spend hours training my body for better performance and I should really take my nutrition more serious. I have tried some peformance products that claim they have anti-inflammatory properties, but they are usually loaded with sugar. Anyone spending the time and eating bushels of fruit?


MTB Girl said...

I was on this kick last year. I purchased several nutrition books geared specifically for athletes to figure out what I needed. I discovered I didn't even LIKE most of the food in them. . . .and at my level, it didn't seem to affect my performance. Now that I've shed a few pounds I find myself VERY careful about what I put in my body. I'm a lot more concious about whether something is good "fuel" for my body. . .or just crap. I still put the "crap" in sometimes. . . .cuz I can. . .but paying attention to protein and carbs, and cutting the sugars has helped my body in it's recovery process. Or at least that's what I think. I guess we'll see! :-)

SquidBuzz said...

Check out Cyclo-FUEL and Hammer Nutrition. The first for direction in eating habits for cyclists, the second for supplements and fuels.

Todd aka SquidBuzz
(the tandem guy from the New Year's Day ride)

Sara said...

I think most of us worsheads watch our diet and explore what foods work for our body and the nutrition we need. It is easy to get anal and go overboard.....have to remember racing/riding is for health and fun, but not our career.

Christine said...

I appreciate the comments! I had my diet analyzed by my coach about a year or so ago and found all the crummy stuff and cleaned house. Now, I want more energy, faster recovery. A natural EPO, if there is such a thing. I tried a product last race season that had quercetin in it aproximately 325 mg of the stuff and I swear it made a difference in power and acceleration when needed. The draw back is that is contains lots of unwanted sugar. I love riding and having a good time. I think if I really cleaned up, I would have to get rid of the wine habit I have. But then there would be no fun!

MTB Girl said...

Life is all about fun. Take the fun out. . . .what's the point? Then it's all just work.

Anonymous said...

The University of Vermont conducted the study how tart cherries helped to reduce muscle soreness.

Fruit is high in anthocyanins and antioxidants. In fact, over 500 hundred different anthocyanins have been discovered in fruit along. Different anthocyanins offer different health benefits.

I have been drinking cherry juice for over 3 year for my joints and muscles. I also take a supplement that combines tart cherries with glucosamine and chondroitin. This has really help me with my muscles and my joints. I also try to at least 4-6 servings of fruit per day. My glass of cherry juice counts as one daily servings.

Anonymous said...

It seems like every now and then another study comes out. Do this, eat that. Drink chocolate milk for recovery?

I dont even read that kind of stuff anymore. It just confuses me and the loss of concentration might lead to me eating a whole pizza. Or bad spelling.

The best advise I ever got was eat what you want but take the bad stuff in moderation.