Easy Upgrades (Preview)

Pack even more nutrition into already healthy meals by adding one of these three simple extra ingredients

Posted: 28 June 2010

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.

Boost smoothies

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.

Boost yoghurt

Add flaxseeds

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.

Boost salmon

Add oregano

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.

Subscribers can discover more health-boosting ingredients in the full article. If you'd like to subscribe, you can enjoy a significant saving on the newsstand price by subscribing online now.

Previous article
Eat Carbs, Eat Smart
Next article
Easy Upgrades


Discuss this article

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.