NUTRITION FOR CYCLISTS: Antioxidants and Training

Summer seasonal fruit and vegetables

Dr Kevin Currell has written an interesting article for Bike Radar on the importance of antioxidants for cyclists.  Unfortantely the key source, cherries, are not available as a juice product from what I can find but there are other great and tasty alternatives.


Dr Currell states that …

Antioxidants act by counteracting something called oxidative stress, which causes damage to the body. During day-to-day living your body produces things called reactive oxygen species that attack the body. Think of it as oxygen on a rampage around your body. You naturally produce antioxidants to protect your body from this attack, so think of this as your body’s police force. However, you need to get extra antioxidants from your diet to support this police force – think of these as the riot police.

There’s a huge body of research looking into the effect of antioxidant intake on health. With the advent of processed food a lot of the antioxidant capacity of our foods has been removed. It’s quite clear from the research that antioxidants can help prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer and help you live a long life.

The health benefits of a diet high in antioxidants is clear, but the performance benefits are less so. We know that exercise, particularly hard training, increases oxidative stress, but we also know that the body responds to this by increasing the size of its police force. However, when you train hard, the body can’t increase its natural antioxidants enough, so you need to make sure the riot police are ready to go.

So will should be eating

  • five portions of fruit per day
  • five portions of vegetables per day
  • and we should steam not boil our vegetables.

More details and advice in the article at Bike Radar.

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