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Nov. 25 2009 - 9:55 am | 28 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Seasonal Super Foods

A pumpkin stem.

Image via Wikipedia

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we’re all going to indulge a bit more than usual. However, if you choose wisely, your dinner plate can be more than just a celebratory meal. Certain foods can improve your running performance and keep you healthy all season long. I really believe in the old adage “You are what you eat”. If you fuel your body with the right things, it will be reflected in your energy levels and training. So before you sit down to the buffet, discover the best holiday foods for runners.

Pumpkin - This orange gourd is a ubiquitous part of the holiday season, but runners should make it a year-round staple. If you’re trying to stay slim and strong, pumpkin packs a powerful punch. A serving of pumpkin only contains 20 calories and is packed with fiber. Pumpkin’s orange color comes from carotenoids which are powerful cancer-squashing compounds. Try a 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree mixed in to a post-run bowl of oatmeal!

Cranberries - These little bright berries are great sources of vitamin C which is essential for staying healthy during cold & flu season. Studies also suggest that cranberries may contain compounds that protect against high cholesterol levels, heart disease, kidney stones, gum disease, bone health, blood clots, cancers, and stomach ulcers. Finally, anyone that’s had a UTI knows cranberry juice can be a great homeopathic treatment – as long as you drink 100% juice and stay away from anything that is overly sweetened.

Brussels Sprouts - say goodbye to summer sweet corn and tomatoes and embrace winter’s cruciferous vegetables. According to Cooking Light, brussels sprouts contain cancer-fighting phytonutrients in addition to a healthy dose of iron, potassium, and fiber. Toss these veggies in tablespoon each of canola oil and maple syrup and roast at 400 degrees F until tender.

Turkey - skinless, white meat turkey breast is hard to beat in terms of protein and calorie content. A 3 oz. serving (the size of your palm) is packed with B vitamins, zinc, and contains about 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 20 grams of muscle-building protein. If you’re not a meat-eater, beans and tofu can give you similar benefits.

Cinnamon – Women’s Health Magazine touts the blood-sugar stabilizing benefits of cinnamon. This comforting spice also enhances the natural sweetness of baked goods, so you can use less sugar in the recipe. Try a sprinkle of cinnamon in your latte, on top of a baked sweet potato, or sprinkled on popcorn.

Happy Running! And if you’re participating in a Turkey Trot tomorrow – good luck!

Let’s discuss – do you have a favorite holiday dish?

By Megan Kretz


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    Oh yes! I love brussels sprouts, so this is my favorite time of year for that reason alone. My personal holiday favorite is my husband’s sweet potatoes…some combination of mashed potato, maple syrup, margarine, and then topped with bread crumbs and pecans. And baked. And eaten.

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Running Shorts is a part of the True/Slant network specializing in Running News, Trends, Insights and Perspectives. This blog is maintained by Megan Kretz (megan [dot] kretz [at] gmail [dot] com) and Geoff Decker (geoffreydecker [at] gmail [dot] com). Email either us with tips, suggestions or feedback. And thanks for reading!

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