Eat like a Cricketer – Englands Cricket Team menu for Ashes success.
EAT LIKE A CRICKETER
The English Cricket Board has issued an amazing 82-page list of catering demands for its Ashes team, including recipe requirements and instructions for preparing nearly 200 different types of meals and beverages. This move may have raised eyebrows amongst cricket officials and various sections of the media, but it also gives us a rare inside into what team nutritionalists are advising individuals playing sport at the very highest levels.
For England Teams Catering Requirements Ashes Tour 2013 click here
& for England Teams Recipe Book for Ashes Tour 2013 click here
Both booklets are absolutely jammed full of nutritional buzz words and give clues as the the timing of eating as well as the types of seeds, nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables that we should all try and include in our diets.
STAR INGREDIENTS ?
Coconut oil – Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated. However, coconut oil doesn’t contain the same saturated fats as in meat or dairy products, it contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are shorter than the long-chain saturated fats found in other foods and consequently are metabolised differently, MCTs once digested go straight to the liver and are used as a quick source of energy. Research has also found that consuming MCTs in the diet can actually increase over all energy expenditure when compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats (1,2). One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, the equivalent of about 120calories a day (3). Coconut oil has also been linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease (4), lower appetite (5), is antibacterial (6) and used in the treatment of epilepsy and Alzheimers (7,8). In sport use of MCTs gives an quick release source of energy.
Nuts and seeds – Pretty much all the recipes are littered with nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds contain a lot of essential nutrients and are particularly high in Vitamin E and magnesium. They are also a high energy dense food but despite being rich in fats, eating nuts is associated with improved insulin sensitivity, lower body weight and improved health (9,10). Id like to particularly mention pumpkin seeds, which are a good source of both Magnesium (lowers stress & anxiety) and Zinc (immune system, sleep, insulin regulation and anxiety), tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts into serotonin and melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” and finally are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA), which although the conversion process is poor, can be converted into essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.
Goji Berries and Cherries – Many of the recipes are packed jammed full of fruit and dried fruit. Fruit is full of sugar, so you need to be careful but it is also a good source of fibre and loads of healthy minerals, phytonutrients and minerals. Phytonutrients do degrade with storage and heat but research shows that they don’t disappear completely and in some cases processing can make them more bioavailable. I have pulled out two fruits in particular. Goji berries- Goji berries contain vitamin C, vitamin B2, vitamin A, iron, selenium and other antioxidants. They are often referred to as a superfood and have been linked with improved immunity, lower cardiovascular and cancer risk, better brian activity. However pretty much all the current evidence is weak (11), and other berries may be just as beneficial. There is also quite a high rate of allergic response in sensitive individuals (12) and I wouldn’t recommend eating loads of them. I do use them at home and find they give a very nice slightly tart fast to flapjack, granola and fruit bars. Vitamin B2, Vitamin A, Iron and Selenium are all on the low side in our diets, particularly in teenagers. Cherries – Recently, cherries and cherry products have received growing attention in both exercise and clinical research. Cherries are high in anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative capacity and can show action similar to an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) or analgesic. Within sport there has been concern about their use, as they may also blunt training adaptation. However cherries, particularly sour cherries are increasingly being used in sport particularly when it is thought that optimal recovery time is more important than physiological adaptation i.e. during competition (14). For the rest of us, there is pretty strong and growing evidence that eating or drinking sour berries or juice lowers inflammation and maybe particularly beneficial for arthritis (15).
Agave Nectar – Agave nectar has been used for centuries as a remedy but don’t be dazzled by its natural sounding name, as it is like other sugars highly processed. Agave sweeteners are produced from the blue agave plant, the core of which contains the aguamiel or “honey water,” which can be used for syrup production (or fermented to make tequila). Light agave syrup resembles maple syrup or honey in flavour, though the taste is more delicate, which is why agave is increasingly popular for energy drinks, teas, nutrition bars etc. Amber and dark agave nectar taste similar to caramel, and can be used like maple syrup on pancakes and waffles. Agave has about 60 calories per tablespoon, compared to 40 calories for the same amount of table sugar but agave is about 1 1/2 times sweeter than sugar so recipes need less of it – which means you can achieve the same sweetness for about the same number of calories. Depending on how the plant was grown and processing, agave nectar contain anywhere from 55 to 97 per cent fructose and this fructose content gives it a glycemic index of 10-20, and much lower than table sugar 65. This should mean that agave syrup doesn’t spike your blood sugar and insulin in the same way as other sugars and may be why it has been chosen here. Im not sure this is totally supported by research, as the latest studies are linking high fructose sugars with long term health penalties. This Huffington Post article gives a good summery.
Cinnamon – For generations cinnamon has been linked with any number of health benefits and recently has gained a lot of press on its value in regulating blood sugar and boosting immunity. I love cinnamon but before you rush off and add it to everything its worth watching this video.
For further information on nutrition for sport or on the health benefits of ingredients please call or email me at Larder and Gym.
1 – Seaton et al 1986 – Thermic effect of medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides in man. Am J Clin Nutr 44(5):630-4
2 – Scalfi et al 1991 – Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides. Am J Clin Nutr 53(5). 1130-3
3 – Dulloo et al 1996 – Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber. Eur J Clin Nutr 50(3), 152-8
4 – Assuncao et al 2009 – Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids 44(7), 593-601
5- McClernon et al 2007, The effects of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger and other sells-reported symptoms. Obesity 15(1), 182-7
6- Ogbolu et al 2007, The vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. J Med Food 10(2), 384-7
7- Neal et al 2008, The Ketogenic diet for the treatment of childhood epilepsy: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 7(6) 500-506
8-Costantini et al 2008. Hypometabolism as a therapeutic target in Alzheimers disease. BMC Neurosci 9(supp 2): S16
9- Bes-Rastrollo et al 2012. Nut consumption and weight gain in a mediterranean cohort: The Sun Study. Obesity 15(1), 107
14 – Bell et al 2013. The role of cherries in exercise and health. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2013 May 27. doi: 10.1111/sms.12085. [Epub ahead of print]
15- Kuehl 2102. Cherry juice targets antioxidant potential and pain relief. Med Sport Sci 59, 86-93