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Eating For Endurance

Mediterranean Diet may improve endurance

In this glorious period of warm weather, it is much easier to eat a Mediterranean type diet with lots of salads, fish, fresh vegetables and fruit. This pattern of eating has numerous health benefits including protecting our brain health, muscle mass, bone health and is good for weight maintenance.

A recent study showed that it is also good for our endurance! Now whilst we might not all be 5k runners looking to shave 6% off our personal best the fact that eating a Mediterranean diet can improve exercise performance is another reason to follow this delicious and nutritious way of eating!

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition and investigators found that participants ran a 5K six percent faster after eating a Mediterranean diet than after eating a Western diet.

The Mediterranean diet includes whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil and whole grains, and avoids red and processed meats, dairy, trans and saturated fats and refined sugars.

Senior researcher Edward Weiss, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and dietetics at SLU, says the Mediterranean diet is well-established as having numerous health benefits. He and his team hypothesized that the diet's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, more alkaline pH and dietary nitrates might lead to improved exercise performance.

"Many individual nutrients in the Mediterranean diet improve exercise performance immediately or within a few days. Therefore, it makes sense that a whole dietary pattern that includes these nutrients is also quick to improve performance," Weiss said. "However, these benefits were also quickly lost when switching to the Western diet, highlighting the importance of long-term adherence to the Mediterranean diet."

 So make sure that this week’s shopping list contains lots of different coloured vegetables, oily fish and nuts and seeds!

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