Food & Drink To Recover
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to miss a training run because of a cough, cold or stomach upset. Speed your recovery by eating and drinking the right things.
When you’re poorly, your body needs energy (from calories), hydration, and electrolytes. It’s often easier to stomach small mini-meals when you’re feeling under the weather. But there are certain foods you should avoid when you’ve got a cough, cold, stomach upset or sickness.
Here’s what to eat – and what to avoid – so you get up and running as soon as possible!
Have you ever made bone broth? It’s more than an old wives tale. This home-made soup is an amazingly nourishing, healing food which is perfect when you’ve got any kind of cold, stomach or digestive problem, or inflammation.
In a slow cooker or large pan, simmer bones, meat and vegetables. You can use beef bones, or a chicken carcass. Add fresh herbs and spices if you are suffering with a cold (ginger, a little chili, turmeric, garlic are all good) and add a splash of apple cider vinegar to help pull the goodness from the bones. Simmer on low heat for at least two hours, remove the bones and drink the meaty, nourishing broth.
Using bones in broth gives your body an amazing range of nutrients including the amino acids glycine and proline (important for healing, but only present in small amounts in actual meat), calcium, potassium and magnesium. Natural anti inflammatory compounds, including chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine will help ease aches and pains. And of course the warm liquid of the broth will sooth sore throats, keep blocked nasal passages open, and encourage the thinning of mucus.
Avoid caffeine (it encourages the production of the stress hormone cortisol) and opt for herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint, or add a slice of lemon, fresh ginger or mint leaves to hot water.
A Small Amount Of Spice
If you’ve got a cough or cold, add a little spice to your food (but avoid this tactic if you’ve got an upset stomach). Good choices are fresh ginger root, parsley, chili (fresh, flaked or powdered), garlic and turmeric.
Every runner’s favourite fruit is actually pretty handy when you’re poorly. Bananas are packed with potassium, one of the things you’ll be low on if you’ve been sweating, vomiting or suffering with a bad stomach. They’re also high in calories so will keep your body fuelled whilst it’s working so hard to get better.
And what to avoid:
Steer clear of dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese, cottage cheese, quark and Greek yoghurt) when you’re ill. Many people feel that dairy increases mucus production and inflammation – two things you really want to avoid if you’re already ill.
High fat foods
Foods with too much fat content (even healthy omega 3 fats) will be difficult to digest and will slow down the rate at which other nutrients are absorbed. For now, steer clear of too much fat.
High sugar foods
As a healthy runner, you probably already keep an eye on your sugar intake. Now is not the time to self-medicate with chocolate and sweets, and it’s also a good idea to ditch the fruit juices, smoothies, honey and jam. Such high sugar foods don’t do much for your body by way of nutrition, and will spike insulin and increase inflammation. Keep your foods low in sugar, your carbohydrates slow-release and low-GI, and give your body what it needs to rest and recover.
You’ll be back out there running before you know it!