How to protect your gut if you do endurance sports


A study recently published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeuticsconducted in Australia by Monash University of Melbourne and the University of Tasmania, leaves no doubt: those who practice for long periods endurance sports, such as running and cycling, can suffer from “gastrontestinal syndrome induced by physical exercise “. Training over two hours, with a moderately intense pace, can strain the intestine, causing it to release toxins and trigger disorders. Furthermore, the heat can aggravate the situation.

Keep your gut running smoothly with the right foods

“Prolonged exertion reduces the blood supply to the abdominal organs,” he explains Leopoldo Cervo, nutritionist in Trieste. “This can cause malabsorption of nutrients and impaired gastric and intestinal motility.” The solution lies in the choice of what to eat, before and after training, but also in the days of preparation for a race.

“On the days you train prefer dishes that are easy to digest, based on proteins (for example mackerel, sardines, egg white), to replenish muscles; carbohydrates (pasta dressed with extra virgin olive oil, rusks, biscuits, muesli) to give energy and good fats (dried fruit, seeds, oily fish), to protect the organs and maintain body temperature.

In the week before the race, you can also add vegetables, legumes, white meats », continues the expert. Hydrate yourself with lemon, sugar and salt. Don’t underestimate what you drink while working out. «Forget the protein shakes, which are difficult to digest. Choose one isotonic drink, which has a molecular concentration equal to that of blood, easily assimilated », recommends Cervo. You can find it ready or prepare it yourself. In 1 liter of water, squeeze the juice of 2 lemons and add 3 teaspoons of brown sugar, 1 of baking soda and 1 of fine salt. Stir and let it rest for at least half an hour before drinking. Hydrates, replenishes minerals and provides nutrients.

The benefits of integration

Do you need help during the race? Choose a supplement that does not affect the gastrointestinal system. “Glutamine is a good option because it provides you with long-term energy and has an excellent anti-fatigue capacity, therefore it decreases the feeling of tiredness”, comments our expert.

It must be taken, however, wisely. «You need a consultation with an expert (doctor or nutritionist), for doses and posology, which must be calibrated on the person and on the type of activity performed. Excess can cause intestinal problems, water retention, kidney and liver fatigue », concludes Cervo.