By tossing salads in olive oil, upping your wholegrains, eating more fatty fish and swapping white for red wine you may just speed up your exercise performance, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Research revealed when athletes prescribed to a Mediterranean diet were compared to those on a typical Western diet, results found they ran six per cent faster and showed higher levels of endurance exercise performance.
In the study conducted by Saint Louis University, those on the Mediterranean diet were asked to increase their fruits and vegetable intake alongside nuts, olive oil and whole grains, while avoiding processed meats, dairy, trans and saturated fats and refined sugars.
In contrast, those on a Western diet were asked to eat less fruit and veg, more refined and highly processed oils and higher saturated fats alongside dairy, refined sugars, sodium and processed foods.
In just four days, those on the Mediterranean wholefoods diet managed to speed up their treadmill time by six per cent more than those on a standard Western diet.
With most foods in the Mediterranean diet found to be alkaline, higher in dietary nitrates and with high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, the culmination is what researchers believe to be behind the powerful outcome.
So does that mean we only need to cut back pre-race/treadmill sesh? No, not if you’re out for long term gains. The study found when the participants went back to a Western diet, the results quickly slipped back, suggesting that in order to stay at peak performance and keep moving forward, it’s all about going the distance with it.
And hey if that means Greek salads and a vino, it’s not the worst news…
Ready to rival your Barry’s nemesis on the treadmill or outrun your record? Boost your meals with these Mediterranean friendly foods…
The Mediterranean Diet Staples:
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Fatty fish and shellfish—salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, herring, bream, mussels, clams and shrimp.
- Whole grains—quinoa, whole grain pasta, rice, barley and oats.
- Nuts—almonds, cashews, pine nuts, walnuts and pistachios.
- Fruit—apples, apricots, berries, cherries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, cherry tomatoes, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, pomegranates, lemons.
- Vegetables—eggplant, capsicum, artichokes, zucchini, cucumber, sweet potato, broccoli, fennel and leafy greens.
- Legumes—cannellini beans, chickpeas, fava beans, split peas, green beans.
- Herbs and spices—basil, cumin, fennel, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme.
- Red wine.