BLUEBERRIES PROTECT YOU ON LONG RUNS
Physiologists from a US university gave runners a cup of blueberries daily for six weeks; a second group had no blueberries. Participants then ran for 2.5 hours. The results (published in May) show the berry-eating runners had more immune cells and less inflammation and oxidative damage before and after the run. Researchers believe anthocyanidins in blueberries are responsible for the protective benefits.Action
As part of your daily eating pattern have blueberries or other anthocyanidin-rich foods (blackberries, pomegranate juice) daily.A PINT OF BEER HELPS PREVENT COLDS
In a study from Munich University published this year, runners drank one to one-and-a-half litres of nonalcoholic beer (NAB) daily for three weeks and then ran a marathon. Afterward they drank NAB for two more weeks. Compared to nondrinkers, the NAB group had more killer T-cells (a sign of a strong immune system) and three times fewer post-race respiratory-tract infections. Nonalcoholic and alcoholic beer contains polyphenols from brewing grains that may reduce colds.Action
Drink a stubbie or can of regular or nonalcoholic beer per day and include whole grains such as barley, oats and rye in breads and soups.
ICE BATHS HINDER MUSCLE REFUELLING
Participants in a study released this year from the University of Montana rode a bike for 90 minutes to deplete their muscle glycogen (or carbohydrate) levels. Over the next four hours they intermittently soaked one leg in an ice bath while sipping a carb recovery drink. Researchers found that the iced leg replenished only half as much glycogen as the leg that wasn't iced.Action
To ensure your muscles are fully prepared for the next day's workout, skip or postpone the ice bath until after a high-carb meal, or have a shorter, easier run the following day where low fuel levels aren’t going to reduce performance.
CHOCOLATE MILK HELPS YOU LOSE BODY FAT
About 30 men and women participated in a four-and-a-half week training program at the University of Texas in Austin that included cycling hard for an hour a day, five days a week. Right after their ride and again an hour later, subjects drank chocolate milk or a carb beverage. The 2011 study found that chocolate milk–drinkers gained more lean muscle and lost more body fat (thanks to milk's protein) than those downing the carb drink.Action
To help shed body fat and boost muscle gains, follow long workouts with a tall glass of low fat chocolate milk.
Recipe: Healthy chocolate bliss balls
Australia's richest foot race...with beer
Eighty-five per cent of athletes at the University of Montana have sub-optimal vitamin D levels in the winter, scientists there reported in a study published in February; 25 per cent are deficient in autumn. Those with low levels have a higher rate of flu and colds. The body makes vitamin D, which builds bone and reduces injury risk, when exposed to UV rays; since exposure drops in the winter, production drops, too.Action
Take 600 to 1000 IU daily of supplemental vitamin D3, and eat plenty of vitamin D– rich foods, such as fish, crustaceans and oysters.This article is an extract from the November 2011 issue of Runner's World, the world's leading running magazine for the runner who wants to achieve their personal health, fitness and performance goals. Go to the Runner's World website for the latest news and to subscribe online.