How Two Seasonal Foods Can Help Running

apple-pumpkin-cake01If there are two foods that autumn is most known for in New York, it’s apples and pumpkins. We have a large supply of both here in the Empire State, but how exactly do they help? Runner’s World recently featured them in their ongoing series “How ____ Can Help Your Running” so let’s take a look at the results.

Pumpkin, a gourd like squash, is packed with Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that leads to better eyesight. Very important during these winter nights! Vitamin A also boosts the immune system, which will keep you on your feet during flu season.

Pumpkin has plenty of certain alkaloids and falonoids, as well as palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, like anti-inflammatory omega-3s).  Pumpkin-flavored coffee, beer, donuts and other pastries might sound appetizing, but they have no nutritional value whatsoever beyond a quick source of glucose and a load of fat. Your better off sourcing  your pumpkin from the real thing.

The old adage an “apple a day keeps the doctor away” could be reframed to “an apple a day keeps the runner’s muscles strong.” Apples are packed with quercetin, which has antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and heart-protecting effects. It also decreases the risk of cancers and chronic diseases.

Some studies have shown that quercetin affects the oxidation process of muscles, which allow for increased endurance performance and maximal oxygen consumption. However, other studies have found no effect at all. Others report that quercetin may reduce muscular damage and soreness, improve neuromuscular function, and improve muscular strength. And of course, these are from natural, whole apples, not from apple fritters or apple pie!

Happy grocery shopping!

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