Recipe: Warming Veggie Curry

vegetarian curry recipe for endurance athletesThis curry makes a perfect winter recovery meal after a chilly bike ride or long run. The potatoes and five different vegetables provide carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen stores, while the hard-boiled eggs, peas and red lentils provide protein to support muscle recovery.

The various vegetables and spices add extra nutritional benefits to help keep you healthy through the winter months:

  • Potatoes, red pepper and onion are great sources of vitamin C to support immune function.
  • Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-microbial garlic helps to fight bacterial infections.
  • Ginger has been shown to help reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
  • Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable containing glucosinolates that help support your body’s detoxication processes.
  • This curry is also high in fibre to help maintain a healthy digestive function.
  • Lastly, the salt in the Bouillon powder will contribute towards replenishing sodium lost in sweat, as will the natural sodium in the plant foods. Continue reading

Vegan Diets: A Guide for the Endurance Athlete

vegan quinoa bowlVegan diets have become noticeably more popular in recent years. Many people will choose to exclude all animal products from their diet for ethical reasons. Others may see it as a healthier way of eating. Or it may well be a combination of the two. I’ve certainly observed an increase in the number of endurance athletes who are turning to veganism. That’s great if it’s the right decision for you, and it is certainly possible to be both vegan and a high performer, but you do need to be aware of several potential risks to both your health and your performance if you follow a vegan diet which isn’t well balanced and doesn’t take account of potential nutrient deficiencies. Continue reading

The Role of Gut Bacteria in Health and Performance

Picture of gut bacteria

Introduction

The role of the gut bacteria in our bodies – known as the microbiome – has been a hot topic in medical research for a while. Given the impact that our microbiome has been found to have on digestive health, immunity, energy production, ability to lose weight and even the way in which our brain functions, it has not been surprising to see sports scientists starting to examine the role of gut bacteria on athletic performance. Continue reading

Calcium: A guide for the endurance athlete

Food sources of calcium

Did you know that calcium is the 5th most common substance in your body and the most abundant mineral? You probably know that a large part of your bones and teeth are made up of calcium. But calcium plays a much bigger role in health than contributing to strong bones and teeth, and these functions are all of importance to someone taking part in endurance sports like running, cycling and triathlon. For example, adequate calcium is needed to enable the contraction of heart muscle which in turn pumps blood around your body. It’s also required in the process by which your skeletal muscles contract. It helps nerve signals to be transmitted and it’s essential for normal blood clotting when injury occurs. It is also needed to activate the enzyme lipase which breaks down fat stores to produce energy. Continue reading

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports (RED-S) Practical Considerations for Endurance Athletes

Mountjoy et al, BJSM, 2014

I’m very pleased to welcome a guest contributor to my blog this month, Dr Nicky Keay, who is a medical doctor specialising in sports endocrinology. Dr Keay has published many papers relating to sports endocrinology (the impact of hormones on performance) and is a regular contributor to the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM). She will be organising and chairing the annual BASEM spring conference.

At the end of Dr Keay’s article, I have added some practical nutritional tips to help athletes avoid or recover from RED-S. Continue reading

Beetroot, feta & quinoa salad – A lunch recipe for endurance athletes

recipe for endurance athletes - beetroot, feta and quinoa - by Jo Scott-Dalgleish

This salad makes a great packed lunch to take to work on days when you are training in the early evening, with a good mix of quinoa and starchy vegetables to provide carbohydrate and protein from feta cheese, beans and quinoa. And, of course, the nitrates in the beetroot may help with stamina. See my blog here for the benefits of beetroot for endurance athletes. Continue reading

Magnesium: A guide for the endurance athlete

magnesium a guide for the endurance athlete

Iron, calcium, sodium…..these are all minerals which an endurance athlete might consider when thinking about their nutrition. Am I getting enough iron in my diet to help prevent fatigue? Am I eating enough calcium to protect my bones? Am I replacing the sodium that I lose when I sweat? But do you ever think about whether you have adequate magnesium? Continue reading

Gastro-Intestinal Problems and Endurance Sport

gut health for endurance athletesAs a nutritional therapist specialising in working with endurance athletes, people often come to see me seeking help with gastro-intestinal problems that they experience during training and, more commonly, racing. I have written briefly on this subject before with some practical tips to avoid GI problems while racing, most of which are appropriate for anyone competing in endurance sports. You can find these tips here.

I would now like to look at this issue, which affects so many athletes, in more depth. In the last few years, a number of studies have been published which suggest that there may be some additional strategies worth trying if you experience GI issues while training for or racing endurance events. Some of these are designed specifically to help mitigate the effects of strenuous exercise on the gut. Others may be appropriate if you suffer from chronic digestive health issues, which are then exacerbated during racing. In this blog, I am going to look firstly at the types of gut problems that may be experienced and why this occurs, and secondly at some strategies that may be worth trying to prevent these problems from affecting your race, based on the latest research. Continue reading

Recipe – Mackerel and Sweet Potato

recipes for endurance athletes

This is one of my favourite evening meals, filling and nourishing after a day with a long or hard training session. The mackerel is a great source of both protein (19g/100g) to help repair muscle and healthy omega 3 fats to support heart, joint, immune and brain function. Sweet potato provides carbs (20g/100g – a serving is 200g) to replenish glycogen stores together with fibre to maintain a healthy gut and a range of vitamins such as beta carotene, which is important for eye health. I’ve added tenderstem broccoli and leeks for additional plant nutrients, so this recipe provides 3 servings of vegetables. I’ve also included maple syrup for flavour and some additional carbohydrate (10g/tbsp)

Continue reading

“Real Food” Sports Nutrition: Options for the Endurance Athlete

real food nutrition for endurance sportsA gel, a sugary sports drink or a bar packed with synthetic ingredients is the last thing that some endurance athletes want to consume while they are training or even racing. It might be that their digestive system simply cannot cope, particularly over a long session or race. It might be that they resent paying for often expensive branded products, which may include unnecessary ingredients in small, ineffective amounts. Or it might be that they simply prefer eating foods that are in their natural form or at least minimally processed, such as a bar with all natural ingredients. If you are one of these athletes, then this blog post is for you. Continue reading