Are there holiday treats that benefit runners? Is it possible that our favorite goodies can possibly be helpful to our sport? Friends, I don’t buy into “earning food rewards”, but it’s nice to know that our favorite holiday snacks might actually be good for us!
Who doesn’t love a jaunty gingerbread person cookie? Ginger, the main ingredient, is a spice full of medical benefits, perfect for runners. First, it’s an anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxident. Ginger aids in digestion, which is super helpful, especially on long run and race days. Ingestion of ginger can help with menstrual cramps, and can also minimize the damage of osteoarthritis, which can negatively effect runner’s joints.
Peppermint, and therefore candy canes, is another incredible tool in a runner’s holiday arsenal. Indigestion is no match for peppermint, which is helpful to any runner who has ever suffered from GI troubles. Peppermint is known to help ease period cramps, similar to ginger. It sharpens focus (which is great for dedication to your running goals), and combats seasonal allergies and sinus issues, helping runners breathe more easily. Let’s show some love for this red and white treat!
Raise your hand if you think it’s unfair that eggnog is only available for a couple months a year. Runners, take note. Egg nog is loaded with potassium, which we all know is amazing at alleviating muscle cramps. It’s also great for the regulation of fluids and blood pressure. And if you drink the full dairy version, you’re getting a punch of calcium and vitamins A, B2, and B12, which are all great for overall performance. Drink up!
I have long been a supporter of the health benefits of chocolate, so now it’s time for hot cocoa to shine. Runners can rest easy knowing that cocoa powder provides plenty of fiber and iron, while also acting as an antioxidant. The polyphenols in cocoa can lead to reduction in inflammation, blood pressure, and blood sugar, while improving blood flow and cholesterol. Also, chocolate can make us happy, and happy runners are the best runners, All we need to know is if you’d prefer whipped cream or marshmallows.
What are your favorite holiday treats and how are they beneficial to you as a runner?