BY DR. KIRSTIN LAURITZEN, DC, MS
It may be tempting to take a more casual attitude toward your nutrition plan in the off-season, but there are good reasons to keep avoiding processed and high-sugar foods throughout every season. You already know that limiting your exposure to certain foods like wheat, sugar, and highly processed foods is ideal during training season because it helps reduce aches and soreness while encouraging a healthy gut.
However, in the off-season, athletes tend to be a bit more relaxed about their nutrition. Whether your off-season is through the winter or over the summer, keeping up with your nutrition can keep you feeling healthy and fit all year long. Plus, getting back into training season will be easier.
Here’s why: your immune system relies on a healthy gut. In fact, about 60% of your immune system surrounds your small and large intestines! Eating sugar, wheat, and processed foods can upset your digestive system and lead to issues with the immune system. This can result in more colds and flu, which commonly take athletes out of training. It can also lead to more overall aches, soreness, and even more serious health conditions if allowed to persist for too long.
1. Load up on greens and vegetables. Foods like broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts can help support a healthy body, gut, and immune system.
2. Avoid sugar, gluten, and foods containing highly processed wheat. Look for whole grains when possible, and check labels for hidden sugars. Going through an elimination food plan can also help with identifying foods that could be causing unwanted digestive upset and other symptoms.
3. Reduce indigestion by paying attention to food combinations. Fruits digest differently than protein and starchy carbohydrates. Try eating fruits and starchy carbohydrates for snacks and eating protein, fat, and vegetables at main meals.
4. Fill in any nutrition gaps with Hammer Nutrition’s Premium Insurance Caps, Digest Caps and/or EnduroZyme, EndurOmega, and get in more healthy greens!
5. Consider taking a whole-body approach to your health and training nutrition program. Focus on the right foods, identify any underlying infections, address gut health, balance hormones, reduce stress, and evaluate for overall toxin exposure.