Running into Fall: Eat Leafy Greens to Give Your Athletic Performance a Boost

 

A woman runs as the sun sets. Two images for leafy green salads accompany the runner photo.Marathon running may not be synonymous with fall pastimes like sipping pumpkin lattes or heading to the cider mill. Yet, thousands of diligent individuals are preparing for half and full marathons around the world this season. These athletes have to properly cross-train, fit in ample training time and stretch to successfully complete their goals. They also have to be mindful of what they eat. In fact, intense bouts of physical activity like marathon running deplete one’s antioxidant levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, plant-based foods, like Pete’s Living Upland Cress and Organic Watercress, are the best sources of antioxidants.

 Why are these substances important?

“Powerful antioxidants found in dark leafy greens, including lettuce, can benefit athletes by reducing damage to cells during exercise and in recovery,” says Barbara Ruhs, Arizona-based Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert. “In addition, leafy greens are a source of hydration and a variety of vitamins (vitamin C), minerals (potassium, magnesium) and nutrients (fiber) that may enhance athletic performance.”

When our bodies undergo physical exertion, we produce free radicals, and there is evidence linking free radical production to the process of aging and DNA and cell damage. Ruhs mentions a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition that found that subjects who consumed watercress daily before working out, experienced less DNA damage than their non-consuming watercress counterparts.

You don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise regime.  The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week.  Our Pete’s Living Greens products are an excellent addition to a well-balanced diet for active individuals of all levels. Peruse our blog and Facebook page, for a variety of nutritional yet tasty recipes.

You can find Barbara Ruhs on Twitter at @BarbRuhsRD, Facebook, Pinterest and on http://www.neighborhoodnutrition.com/