Getting sick can affect your training and your success in the Sun Run – eat to stay illness free! Intense strenuous exercise helps the body prepare and adapt for performance but also causes increased levels of stress hormones which have an immunosuppressive effect on the body and can increase risk of illness.
Many other factors like lack of sleep, mental stress, and improper nutrition can affect the overall health of your immune system. You may not be able to curl up under your desk for a nap or hop on a plane for a spa vacation, but you can make sure that what you are eating is adequate for optimal immune function.
Here are some tips to getting in the protein, carbohydrates, vitamins A, C, E, B6, B12, iron, copper and selenium which play important roles in immune function.
Choose whole grains, which are jam packed with energy filled carbohydrates, B vitamins, Vitamin E and fiber over white flour.
Go for colored fruits and vegetables for the benefits of antioxidants, carbohydrates and fiber. Fresh fruit is a portable and easy snack.
First-place proteins include lean cuts of meat, fish, dairy, eggs, soy and nuts. Check that you have a source of protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Eat a diet providing adequate fuel for training and recovery with enough carbohydrate before, during and after exercise to combat illness. To connect with a registered dietitian who can help to assess your individualized nutrition needs see SportMedBC’s Directory of Practitioners here.
To learn more about eating for an illness free training season check out this article in SportMedBC’s Nutrition Library here.
Dana Lis, Sport Dietitian, SportMedBC