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Registered Nutritionist, Lucy-Ann Prideaux


healthiest way to top up my iron levels? Q

Lucy-Ann Prideaux is a regular speaker at RF training breaks with The Running Inn. Every month she’s here to answer your nutrition questions

cravings for unhealthy snacks? Q

In order to have a balanced appetite and avoid unnecessary food cravings, it’s important to maintain steady blood sugar levels, avoid processed foods, ensure you’re eating a balanced diet, and be aware of your “true” hunger and fullness signals. As you look over the following meal ideas, keep in mind how the protein and fat content might help to “blunt” that post-meal rise in glucose and insulin, and at the same time provide essential nutrients. l An apple and a handful of almonds. l Boiled eggs with a slice of toasted 100 percent rye bread. l A bowl of sliced papaya, apple and raspberries with live natural yogurt and pumpkin seeds. l A main course salad of watercress, little gem lettuce, tomatoes, carrot, beetroot, red pepper, cucumber, sliced fennel and avocado. l Grilled salmon and fresh vegetables. All the above meals contain excellent levels of fibre too, which helps to slow the rise in blood glucose, reducing insulin production and avoiding potential peaks and crashes in blood sugar which lead to cravings.


I always crave sugar and chocolate, especially when I train a lot. Can you advise ways to help curb my

Iron plays a major role in transporting oxygen to the working muscles, so it’s important for women and athletes (as well as people in general) to ensure there’s adequate absorbable iron in the diet, and where necessary (and only after diagnosis of iron deficiency) find a good supplement to lift levels to normal/optimal. Let’s look at the diet first and focus on some key foods and meal ideas. Since “haem iron” is the form of iron that’s best absorbed by the body, consider protein sources such as lamb’s liver, or lean beef and lamb, in addition to iron-rich fish such as canned sardines. Mussels and clams are good sources of iron too. Eat plenty of dark leafy greens and green vegetables, e.g. watercress, spinach, chard, kale, peas and broccoli. For breakfast, try this homemade iron-rich muesli cereal – combine rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, raisins and dried apricots. Soak in a bowl overnight, then drain the water and add milk or yogurt and chopped fruit. Accompany this with a glass of pomegranate or dark grape juice, both of which contain iron. For salads or sandwiches, try avocado, chickpea and brown rice salad, a turkey and quinoa salad, or a beef or pastrami and avocado sandwich. If you want something hot, choose a chicken and bean or lentil soup. A good tip here – with salads, use lemon juice instead of vinegar to improve the absorption of iron from plant foods. Some of the best sources of non-haem iron include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried pomegranate seeds, pistachio nuts and almonds. One key reminder – Vitamin C enhances the absorption of non-haem iron, so ensure your meals are full of Vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and all dark red or purple berries. If you do need to supplement your diet, choose Easy Iron by Higher Nature, visit for more.

Carbohydrates are a quick and efficient way to ingest all-important sugars such as glucose and fructose, supplying ready available energy for running performance. They are ranked using a GI (glycaemic index) scoring system. The GI score of a food is based on the rate at which it breaks down into glucose, how fast it is absorbed, and consequently how quickly it raises levels of blood glucose. Carbohydrates that break down fast during digestion release glucose into the blood very quickly. These have the highest GI scores. They give us a quick burst of energy which lasts for a short period of time. Examples include pure glucose, energy gels, syrups, sugar, biscuits, rice cakes, chocolate bars, sweets, white bread, baguettes, overcooked pasta, mashed potato, and white rice. The blood glucose response of these foods is fast and high, and they don’t leave us feeling full for long and can also block our ability to burn fat. Therefore, find replacements if the goal is to increase and sustain energy levels. Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing their glucose gradually, have low GI scores, e.g. most fresh fruits, especially low-sugar/low carb fruits such as apples, pears, plums, oranges, grapefruits, raspberries, blueberries, kiwis, and fresh figs; brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, barley, dark whole rye bread, soy/linseed bread. The blood glucose response to these foods is slower and lower, providing us with longer-lasting energy and a sustained feeling of fullness. They help hugely with boosting energy, and with fat-loss, helping to maintain a normal healthy weight and body composition. A healthy diet should be based around low GI foods in the correct quantities.

Meet Lucy Ann at the next Gold Training Course at The Running Inn on October 29th 2011. Visit for more information about their workshops and running courses.

I’ve been told my iron deficiency may be down to running (foot strike haemolysis). What’s the

Why are carbohydrates so important for a runner’s diet? And what are the best ways to eat them?

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