On-ice success hinges on a team’s ability to master systems – from the power play to a breakout. Performance nutrition follows suit, and it starts with taking care of your immune system.
Cycle these tips into your day-to-day routine to help boost your immune system so you can stay healthy from spring tryouts through to late-summer training camp, and into the next hockey season.
Produce at your very best
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables from a variety of colours each day. These foods are packed with antioxidants known to fight free radicals in our bodies that damage cells that may lead to reduced immune function.
Mix in vegetables and fruit that are vibrant in colour, like berries, cantaloupe, papaya, oranges, peppers, sweet potato, kale, broccoli and beets.
Pump iron (and zinc)
A meal plan low in iron and zinc can compromise your immune function. Foods rich in these nutrients include: chicken, turkey, fish, lean ground beef and eggs.
No worries! Zinc can be found in toasted nuts, nut butters, seeds, cooked beans, wheat germ and leafy green vegetables.
You’ll also get iron from cooked beans, lentils, tofu, enriched grains and black strap molasses. Enhance iron absorption from these plant sources by adding Vitamin C-rich foods like cooked broccoli or bell peppers.
(Vitamin) D wins championships
Adequate Vitamin D intake has been shown to be associated with increased immunity and decreased susceptibility to infection.
Mix in foods fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, orange juice and some cereals to help ensure you are getting enough of the good stuff to stay healthy throughout the season and into the playoffs.
Gut check time
Your gut tells you when to deke and when to shoot, so treat it well because about 70 per cent of your immune function comes from the healthy bacteria in there!
Probiotics found in yogurt introduce “good bacteria” into your gut to keep you firing on all cylinders – the healthy digestive system and improved immune function are added bonuses!
Carb-load like a pro
Carbohydrates and protein are needed before and after a workout to help support a quality training session and promote quick recovery.
Chocolate milk is a great option for post workouts as it includes both high quality protein and energizing carbohydrates – and it’s delicious!