A runner’s diet isn’t always the healthiest; the combination of high sugar and processed food, combined with exercise, means many runners suffer some form of gut trouble. Here, I’ll discuss how to choose foods that soothe and strengthen the gut, and what to avoid to ensure everything works smoothly.
There has been much focus on the gut microbiome recently, as we now know that it plays a central part in immunity and well-being. The gut microbiome is essentially the balance of bacteria that resides in your digestive system. There are good bacteria and bad bacteria coexisting within this delicate ecosystem and an imbalance can quickly make us feel pretty awful. When the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria, we
can suffer gastric distress such as cramps, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and flatulence which ultimately affects our emotional balance and performance. This is further complicated by stress and anxiety and even the motion of running in itself can increase symptoms.
So, as a runner I’m sure the last thing you want affecting your performance, especially on race day, are these kind of symptoms. Therefore it’s imperative that we do what we can to keep the gut bacteria in balance.
The foods and lifestyle choices that can affect the gut are inflammatory in nature and each person has an individual tolerance to these:
For optimum well-being I would recommend that you reduce all of the above to ensure that your gut has the best chance of remaining calm and healthy. That in itself massively reduces inflammation and strengthens your digestive health. That’s easier said than done, but any steps you can take towards reducing the burden on your gut will have a positive impact..
In addition, there are many things we can do on a daily basis to soothe and rebuild the gut.