5 Foods That Are Good For Cyclists

Eat like a cycling pro with these handy tips on what foods to include in your diet.

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Ever wondered if small tweaks such as eating something different might drastically improve your cycling performance? Well, if you try these five foods you should be able to improve your performance levels

1

Salmon

It tastes great when barbequed, it tastes great when grilled and it tastes great when baked. Other great things connected with salmon involve its ability to improve your cycling performance, or more specifically your recovery. Jay Udani, MD, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and CEO of Medicus Research believes that ‘Omega-3s generally increase blood flow’ and that ‘This may help wash out inflammatory cells in damaged muscles’.

You may be scratching your head at this point, thinking so what if my inflammatory cells are washed out of my damaged muscles? Yet, this is key if you want to improve performance because this ‘washing out’ will reduce soreness in your muscles and therefore ensure that you can get the most out of your ride.

Food tips and ideas

A salmon and potato salad makes a great lunch before a cycle, or if you are heading out in the evening eat salmon en croute for your main meal. If you don’t like salmon, tuna should work just as well

2

Green tea

We hold our hands up and fully admit that green tea is not technically a food, but when you see how much green tea can boost your cycling performance you’ll see why it had to be included on our five foods that will make you cycle faster list. A research study in Japan found that green tea extract had the ability to improve exercise endurance by up to 24 per cent.

Also, it is thought that the polyphenols (antioxidant) in green tea extract reduce the amount of amylase (an enzyme that aids digestion) produced and in turn this helps to regulate our blood sugar levels, thereby preventing energy crashes which can have a detrimental impact on your rides

Food tips and ideas

Sip green tea before your ride or, if you want to drink green tea whilst cycling, bottle up some iced green tea so you can enjoy it on the move. If you’re not a fan of green tea you can try a flavored version, such as green tea and pineapple or green tea and pomegranate

3

Kale

Losing weight is an important part of improving your performance. If you don’t believe us, remember that losing just one kilo of weight can make you six seconds quicker in a 40km time trial. One way you can lose weight is to eat kale, which contains folate (folic acid).

A study that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those participants who ate foods that contained folate ended up losing eight and half times more than the other dieting participants who ate less folate. Interestingly, it is thought that folate can help you to lose weight because it steadies your insulin levels and this in turn encourages your body to burn fats from the foods you eat instead of storing the fats

Food tips and ideas

If you want to lose weight by eating foods containing folate, add kale to stir-frys, tarts and pasta dishes. If you don’t like kale you can eat kidney beans or lentils to get your folic acid hit

4

Eggs

Recovery plays an important part when it comes to improving your performance. This is because recovery strategies allow your body to repair, refuel and recover from the race or session you have just completed. This repair process enables your muscles to develop and will ensure that when you next ride your body can reach its potential

A great food that aids recovery is eggs. Eggs contain high levels of protein and this protein equips your body with amino acids that in turn help your body repair muscles.  

Food tips and ideas

Eat some boiled eggs after your ride as a snack, or eat egg-based meals such as a frittata. Combining your protein recovery snack with foods containing carbohydrates will help your body to recover even more, so why not try eating scrambled eggs on toast after a ride to see if it improves your cycling speed?

5

Jelly babies

Although jelly babies aren’t the healthiest of cycling snacks, they are a great source of carbs. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Bath found that consuming carbohydrates during exercise could improve your cycling performance. The researchers wanted to test to see whether a carbohydrate drink could improve Olympic triathletes’ performance more than a flavored-water placebo. The researchers found that those participants who drank the carbohydrate drink improved their running performance by four per cent, suggesting that having some carbohydrates during your ride could help performance levels.

If you want to try taking on some carbohydrates during your ride remember that high carbohydrate foods like pasta can’t be eaten during your ride because they won’t get digested quickly enough to provide you with the energy boost you are looking for, unless you are going on a very long-distance ride. Instead you need to eat high GI foods that give you a carb hit quickly, such as jelly babies.

Food tips and ideas

If you’re not a fan of jelly babies you could always eat some Jaffa Cakes during your ride or use energy gels or drinks to get the boost you need to cycle faster.

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