Eat to the Max!

By: Jan Dowell, MS, RD, CSSD

You are making the effort to eat healthy foods, so make sure you are doing what you can to maximize the absorption of the nutrients. Try these tips:

  • Tea has many health benefits, but tannins in the tea interfere with iron absorption. Since runners need iron, save your tea for in-between meals.
  • Eat foods rich in Vitamin C to maximize your iron absorption. Some simple Vitamin C sources to include in your meals are tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes and citrus.
  • Choose organic forms of fruits and vegetables. Since there are no pesticides you can wash and eat the peelings where many nutrients reside.
  • Are you eating leafy greens to get your calcium? Eat larger portions since the calcium in the leafy greens is poorly absorbed.
  • Eat fiber, but don’t overdo it. Excess fiber can interfere with nutrient absorption. Too much fiber may also be too filling and keep you from eating all the calories you need to support your running program. A good fiber target for women is 25 grams daily, whereas men should strive for 38 grams of fiber daily.
  • Don’t overcook your veggies. In fact, try to eat some of your veggies raw. Steaming is better than boiling to minimize nutrient loss.
  • Buy produce at the peak of ripeness when the nutrients are at their max. Local farmers markets are a great way to buy fresh foods.

Jan Dowell, MS, RD, CSSD is a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and a runner. Get more nutrition and hydration training tips from Jan at