By Norah Hunt, Swimming World College Intern.
Although November is the month of watching football games on TV while trying to see how fast you can gain ten pounds, it is also the month of mid-season meets and preparation for finals. There are intense training weeks scattered about, as well as changing weather and lots of travel. In a word, it is hectic.
Sometimes the chilly days get the best of us, but there is one way we can beat the November hustle: take in more Vitamin C! This nutrient has so many health benefits and is found in so many foods, making it incredibly easy to obtain the 75 mg (90 mg for men) recommended daily amount. Here are some specific benefits of Vitamin C that will help swimmers succeed this month:
Improves mood and boosts energy.
During this month, it can be super easy to become discouraged by a heavy workload or a rough week of doubles. Vitamin C is a known mood booster, and it aids in the production of neurotransmitters that help regulate our mood. One study even showed that the Vitamin C helps reduce stress among students. Vitamin C is also a known energy booster, and makes class much easier to stay awake for! Plus, it is so much healthier than coffee!
Helps prevent allergies.
Allergies occur when our bodies release histamines, amazing little biochemicals that aid in kicking out allergen triggers. When we release histamines we are more likely to develop allergies. Vitamin C works wonders because it aids in reducing the release of histamines, thereby preventing allergies. A runny nose or a sore throat is the last thing anyone needs in this crazy month, so eating an extra orange at breakfast can indeed do wonders.
Improves asthma symptoms.
Many swimmers suffer from asthma, and it is miserable. In a sport that already has a heavy basis on air control, having an asthma attack is the last thing needed in the middle of a hard practice. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which helps the lungs and airways do their very best job.
Helps wounds and injuries heal faster.
Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, which helps repair everything from scrapes to cuts. In the middle of the season a nasty cut or broken bone is the last thing any swimmer needs, and Vitamin C aids in helping the body repair itself by expediting the recovery process.
Despite the myth that Vitamin C can prevent the common cold, there has never been any direct correlation proven. However, countless studies have shown that consuming Vitamin C while sick can prevent more serious complications, such as pneumonia or other types of infections. It can also reduce the overall length of the the cold, allowing sick swimmers to jump back in the water as soon as possible.
Vitamin C is so incredibly important, but it is also a water soluble substance. This means that our bodies do not store it for extended periods of time, so we must consume some of it each day. Citrus fruits are arguably the best source of Vitamin C, but there are also large stores of it found in kale, broccoli, red peppers, and brussel sprouts. There are also supplements available, but nutritionists prefer real food intake, since there are so many different sources available.
The middles of the season can be a super busy, stress filled time for many athletes. However, one of the best steps toward tackling the month is simply eating an orange a day. Why not reap all the benefits that Vitamin C is here to offer you?
All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff. All nutritional research was conducted by the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.