Loving the BITE: 10-Minute Thai Shrimp Curry

What’s the best “fuel”  for training? It’s day-in and day-out healthy eating.  It’s what I call “Daily Nutrition” (as opposed to “Training Nutrition”).  Without a foundation of nutrients that fight oxidative stress, build our immune system, contribute to heart health, and fight disease, we’d be in no shape to ride hard.  In fact, if you don’t strive for good health with health-promoting whole-foods throughout the week, I don’t believe any amount of gels, sports drink, bars, or recovery food means much on the weekend long rides.  With this in mind, let’s talk about shiitake mushrooms.

Recipe of the Week:   10-Minute Thai Shrimp Curry 

(from http://steamykitchen.com/12780-10-minute-thai-shrimp-curry-recipe.html – one of my new favorite food blogs)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 12 ounces coconut milk
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 6 ounces fresh (shiitake) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pound uncooked, peeled shrimp
  • 8 fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • cooked rice, to serve

Instructions: 

Heat a skillet over medium high heat, once hot add in the cooking oil and red curry paste. Whisk for about 30 seconds. Pour in the coconut milk and continue whisking. Add in the mushrooms and the red peppers and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp to the curry and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the basil and serve over cooked rice.

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It’s not for nothing that shiitake mushrooms are considered a symbol of longevity in Asia.  They promote health in some of the most crucial systems in the body.  And surprisingly, they even have important nutrients that are specifically helpful to cyclists.  Shiitake mushrooms promote:

  • A strong immune system: Interestingly, the nutrients in shiitake mushrooms help our immune systems to not over-react when strong activity isn’t needed, and react enough when an immune response is important.  They help regulate and balance healthy immune function activity.  Optimize your immune function, and you’ll ride more.
  • Reduces risk of cancer: Shiitake mushrooms help strengthen macrophage cells.  These cells are responsible for identifying and clearing potentially cancerous cells from the body.
  • Healthy Cardiovascular system: First, shiitake mushroom nutrients protect us against cardiovascular diseases by decreasing the amount of immune cells that line the blood vessels, which can potential promote plaque build-up and blockages. Then, shiitake mushrooms contain specific antioxidant minerals (manganese, selenium, and zinc) and phytonutrient antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress and the oxidation of “bad cholesterol” (which allows the cholesterol to enter vessel walls and form plaques).  Thirdly, there is also some evidence that shiitake mushrooms’ polysaccharides can help lower total cholesterol levels.  Strong hearts pump blood more efficiently to cycling legs.
  • Healthy iron levels: Iron can be a tough mineral to absorb, and many athletes find themselves low on iron and chronically fatigued.  While not all vegetables sources of iron are easily absorbed, a recent preliminary study has determined that the bioavailability of iron from shiitake mushrooms is equally as bioavailable as supplemental iron in the form of ferrous gluconate. Vegetarian and meat-eating cyclists can benefit from a variety of iron sources.

The foods we eat immediately before, during, and after training are important.  But, our health depends on the foods we eat most of the time, the ones that make up your Daily Nutrition.  For these foods, look to whole foods packed with health-benefitting nutrients, like shiitake mushrooms.  Then, get out and enjoy the ride.

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body.

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