Taste the Rainbow

Fruit jarFood is necessary for survival, but these days we have access to a plethora of foods that may do more harm than good. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, what you are eating is just as important as the hours your log in the gym. And for those who are training for a race, the type of food you are consuming while training have the power to help you make it or break it.

Fruit is often the perfect pre- or post-workout snack that can satisfy without given you that feeling of being overly full. In addition, different types of fruit offer various health benefits for those of us who work out or are training for a race. While eating fruit is always “good for you,” buying fruit that is “in season” and local is an added bonus because it not only tastes better, but it also appears to be healthier. Because you are getting fruit that is grown close to home, it has less time to lose flavor and health benefits because they haven’t been transported across an ocean or have logged miles in a truck. So stop by your local market and keep the following summer fruits stocked in your refrigerator all season long.

  • Berries: Berries are not only delicious, but they are packed with vitamin c and Berriesantioxidants, and are also a great source of fiber. And while strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are often the “go to” summer berries—give elderberries a shot. Elderberries are rich in both antioxidants and magnesium, which may help lessen the build up of lactic acid in the body, reducing the recovery time after a workout.
  • Tart Cherries: Tart cherries help reduce inflammation in the body, which all athletes need post-training sessions. Tart cherries contain anthocyanins, which is a compound that helps block inflammation while preventing muscle damage. In fact, in one study 20 recreational runners consumed either cherry juice or placebo for five days before running a marathon, on race day, and for two days afterward. The tart cherry juice group exhibited less muscle damage immediately after the marathon. They also showed lower levels of inflammation and recovered their muscle strength significantly quicker. Try dried tart cherries (unsweetened) or tart cherry concentrate.
  • Peaches: Like most of the other fruits on this list, peaches are a great source of antioxidants. They also are packed with potassium, fluoride, iron and fiber. Peaches are also low in calories, but high in protein, which will help keep you satisfied throughout your workout. And a word to the wise—go for the fresh stuff. Canned peached are full or added sugars and preservatives, and are probably the last things you want to eat before or after a gym session.
  • Watermelon: For me, watermelon is the ultimate summer fruit. It is also quite beneficial post workout because it contains antioxidants that help the body recover. L-Citrulline is an antioxidant that helps with muscle recovery and increasing muscle strength. And for those who drink sports drinks post workout, try watermelon juice (yes, it is now a thing and it is delicious) as a natural alternative. Cold-pressed juiced watermelon contains six times the electrolytes of sport drinks, contains potassium, vitamin C and lycopene. Currently, my favorite brand is WTRMLN WTR, which has no added sugar (it contains approximately the same amount of sugar as coconut water).
  • Bananas: Bananas are another great way to fuel your body before or after a workout. TheyFruit yogurt bowls not only contain fiber and vitamin B6, but they are also a good source of potassium, which is essential in muscle function. Potassium also helps enhance alertness, prevent muscle fatigue and can help prevent muscle cramps during exercise. The body loses potassium during exercise, and one large banana can help boost you potassium by 487 milligrams (10 percent of your daily recommended intake).

Smoothie Nation
While all of the above can be enjoyed on their own, in a fruit salad, or thrown into oatmeal, or yogurt, a post-workout smoothie is a great way to get all the nutrition you need after an intense training session. Check out the video below for some suggestions on nutritious items you can add for the perfect smoothie:

 

What are your go to summer fruits? Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and let us know.

 

 

 

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