When two foods come to­gether, their health ben­e­fits can be more than dou­ble

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Matthew Kadey

Pow­er­ful food pair­ings that boost their health ben­e­fits

Bat­man and Robin, Ron Ma­clean and Don Cherry, Sun­day group rides and es­presso – some pairs are just meant to be. The same holds true for cer­tain foods. Food syn­ergy oc­curs when cer­tain com­po­nents of dif­fer­ent ed­i­bles and drinks work to­gether to max­i­mize their ben­e­fits. Think of it as 1+1=4 in­stead of 2. The to­tal re­sult is greater than the sum of the in­di­vid­ual parts. Start with these good-chem­istry eats and sips and watch your health and per­for­mance grow ex­po­nen­tially.

“If you want to build more lean body mass, con­sider a snack team­ing up high-pro­tein foods be­fore hit­ting the sack.”

Dy­namic Duo: Toma­toes + Olive Oil To get the most out of your sal­ads, be sure to fat­ten them up. A num­ber of veg­eta­bles, such as toma­toes, car­rots and dark leafy greens, are rich in a class of an­tiox­i­dants known as carotenoids. These an­tiox­i­dants work to help neu­tral­ize free rad­i­cals in the body and thereby lessen dis­ease risk and per­haps even im­prove post-ride re­cov­ery. But since carotenoids are fat­sol­u­ble, they need to be con­sumed with a source of fat for op­ti­mal ab­sorp­tion in the body. Re­searchers at Pur­due Uni­ver­sity dis­cov­ered that mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat is par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive at mak­ing your veg­gies more po­tent. Good sources of mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat that are ready for any salad in­clude olive oil, nuts like al­monds and slices of av­o­cado.

Dy­namic Duo: Ce­real + Milk Af­ter you hop off the sad­dle, con­sider tak­ing hold of a bowl and spoon. Re­searchers at the Uni­ver­sity of Texas at Austin found that sub­jects who con­sumed a bowl of whole-grain ce­real with low-fat milk af­ter cy­cling for two hours ex­pe­ri­enced no­tice­able in­creases in mus­cle glyco­gen and pro­tein syn­the­sis, two mark­ers for bet­ter ex­er­cise re­cov­ery. The carbs in ce­real work to re­store your mus­cle en­ergy re­serves (glyco­gen), while the pro­tein in milk kick-starts mus­cu­lar re­pair. The quicker you re­cover, the quicker you can once again push hard on the ped­als. Other re­search has shown that con­sum­ing milk post-work­out also helps pro­mote re­hy­dra­tion just as well as a sports drink can.

Dy­namic Duo: Beans + Bell Pep­per Ow­ing to iron’s role in trans­port­ing oxy­gen to work­ing mus­cles for en­ergy pro­duc­tion, cy­clists need con­sis­tent sources of the di­etary min­eral. Of course, a hunk of steak is a stel­lar source, but you can also score some iron from plant­based foods, such as beans, lentils, tofu, for­ti­fied ce­re­als, spinach and some whole grains. But there’s a catch: our bod­ies don’t ab­sorb the form of iron in these plant-based foods very well. En­ter vi­ta­min C. This nu­tri­ent helps to con­vert plant iron into a form that is more read­ily ab­sorbed. In turn, the vi­ta­min makes it eas­ier for you to nail your daily quota. So be sure to or­ga­nize a play date between iron-con­tain­ing foods and sources of vi­ta­min C in­clud­ing bell pep­pers, broc­coli, citrus and berries. Dy­namic Duo: Greek Yo­gurt + Hemp Hearts The wrong late-night snacks can lead to waist­line reper­cus­sions. But, if you want to build more lean body mass, con­sider a snack team­ing up high-pro­tein foods be­fore hit­ting the sack. A study in Medicine­and­scien­cein­sports an­dex­er­cise deter­mined that in­gest­ing up to 40 g of pro­tein a half-hour be­fore turn­ing in for the night can help pro­mote new mus­cle growth if ex­er­cise oc­curred ear­lier in the day. It’s likely that a great deal of mus­cle build­ing oc­curs dur­ing sleep. Pro­vid­ing mus­cle cells with the build­ing blocks dur­ing this time can bol­ster the process. More lean body mass in cy­clists can im­prove aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity, in­crease mus­cle ef­fi­ciency dur­ing rides and re­duce in­jury risk. Greek-style yo­gurt has about dou­ble the pro­tein lev­els found in tra­di­tional ver­sions, while nutty tast­ing hemp hearts con­tain more pro­tein (10 g in 3 ta­ble­spoons) than other seeds mak­ing this a mus­cle­build­ing power cou­ple.

Dy­namic Duo: Green Tea + Lemon Packed with health-boost­ing an­tiox­i­dants with­out a sug­ary del­uge, green tea is one of the health­i­est drinks for ath­letes. A Colorado State Uni­ver­sity study found the chief an­tiox­i­dant in green tea, egcg, may work to raise your VO2 max dur­ing ex­er­cise, a mea­sure of how well your body uses oxy­gen. egcg may ac­com­plish this feat by in­creas­ing blood flow to work­ing mus­cles. In turns out you can make green tea even more of an an­tiox­i­dant pow­er­house by adding a squirt of lemon. Re­search shows that citrus juice can in­crease the amount of egcg and other an­tiox­i­dants in green tea that are avail­able for the body to ab­sorb. For a thirst-quench­ing, hy­drat­ing sum­mer drink, pour hot wa­ter over a few green tea bags in a glass jar, squeeze in the juice from half of a lemon or lime and then chill.

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