Pack even more nutrition into already healthy meals by adding one of these three simple extra ingredients
If you're like many runners, you eat well 90 per cent of the time. Maybe you have porridge for breakfast, yoghurt as a snack, and wholewheat pasta to refuel after a run. These are all smart choices, but there's a way to transform these stalwarts into super health-boosting meals. "By making some easy additions to foods you already eat every day, you can provide your body with a greater variety of nutrients," says sports dietitian Molly Kimball. "Plus, you'll add new flavours to your same old diet." Here's how to upgrade your usual fare with nutritious ingredients.
Add unsweetened cocoa powder
Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, the antioxidants that reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. They also protect skin against sun damage and decrease levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, which is a marker of inflammation. "Cocoa powder contains no added sugar and, compared with dark chocolate, less saturated fat," says Susan Kleiner, author of Power Eating (Human Kinetics, £13.99).
Eat smart: Avoid Dutch processed cocoa. It contains fewer flavonoids and is treated with alkali to give it a milder taste.
Earthy, nutty flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and have particularly high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 that fights inflammation. The seeds also contain metabolism-boosting vitamin B6, and pack in 5.6g of fibre for every two tablespoons.
Eat smart: Grind the flaxseeds with a mortar and pestle before sprinkling them on your yoghurt to aid digestion and get the most from their goodness.
Oregano perfectly complements the flavour of salmon, but that's not its only benefit. Researchers from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that the aromatic herb has up to 20 times more antioxidants than other herbs. "Antioxidants help to minimise soreness and improve recovery," says Kimball. "Plus, punching up the flavour with herbs means you can cut back on salt and fat."
Eat smart: Buy fresh oregano, rather than dried, for greater levels of antioxidants.
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