Heavy Training and Staying Healthy
Nutrition is a lot like training. It’s always a good idea to have several tools in your toolbox to pull out and use, but it’s also important to have a good overall plan that you adhere to the majority of the time. So let’s talk about one more nutrition “tool” you can add to the collection – nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has been shown in studies to help endurance athletes in their quest for improved fitness and health. So let’s take a look at how.
After long, exhaustive exercise your white blood cell count tends to go down(1), so for anyone that is training for a distance event, you will likely experience this. Cool thing is, there might be a way to counteract this with nutritional yeast. In one study(2) those who ate ¾ of teaspoon a day of special type of fiber found in baker’s, brewer’s, and nutritional yeast did not have their white blood cell count go down. This lead researchers to wonder if this would also mean fewer illnesses in endurance athletes. They tested this theory with a study conducted on runners in the Carlsbad Marathon.
The results of the Carlsbad Marathon Study(3) were that the placebo group had a high number of participants who experienced upper respiratory tract infection symptoms. However, runners taking a spoonful of nutritional yeast had half the rate of infection. Not only that but the group taking the nutritional yeast felt they had increased “vigor” while the placebo group reported feeling just “meh,” (yes, that’s a scientific post-race term ;))
So if you’re interested in trying some for yourself know that nutritional yeast has a flavor that is probably best described as “cheesy”, making it ideal for sprinkling on foods like pasta and potatoes. It is also good in smoothies as it has a very mild flavor and likely won’t be noticed. You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk section of most health foods or you can order it online.
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