They’ve had bad press in the past but British eggs – recognisable by the red mark of the British Lion – are some of the safest in Europe and have a high biological value of protein. Let’s face it, eggs and working out go together.
Basically, they’re the fastest naturally occurring protein foodstuff that can be broken down into amino acids and delivered to the muscles. And in addition they are packed with loads of other vitamins and nutrients.
Body-builders tend to eat just the egg whites to avoid the cholesterol (fatty substance) in the yolk, but we recommend eating both. Packed with protein (about 45%) and nutrients in the yolk, eggs will have a tiny impact on your blood cholesterol compared to processed and hydrogenated things such as margarines, spreads and cheeses.
There’s no need to limit your egg consumption to one a day. A simple two-egg dish is regarded by most sports nutritionists as providing the optimum amount of protein for recovery after exercise.
What eggs do for the body
Protein is a key component in muscle repair, meaning eggs are the perfect way to start your morning when your muscles need replenishing after hours without food while you slept.
To make the most of the protein, you should combine it with carbohydrates from fibrous sources such as cereals or oats like whole wheat or porridge.
The carbohydrates will provide energy for the protein to be broken down into amino acid form after which it can be used for muscle tissue repair and growth.
Cooking eggs swimmingly
Don’t eat them raw, you’re only increasing your chances of food poisoning if you do this. Boiling or poaching is the healthiest ways of cooking eggs because you’re not adding or heating any fats or oils.
Scrambled eggs or omelettes are great too – use a limited amount of cold-pressed olive oil to cook with and combine them with some vegetables for a balanced dish.
- Pre-workout (2-3 hours before swimming) – Toasted bagel with spinach and eggs. This helps sustain power output during exercise thanks to its high content of carbohydrate, which is combined with protein from the eggs to lower the meal’s glycaemic index (GI).
- Post-workout (1-2 hours after swimming) – Poached eggs with Mediterranean vegetables. This is an excellent way of getting at least two of a Swimmer’s five-a-day fruit and vegetables. It is a good natural source of vitamins A, C and E – all important antioxidants that promote recovery after exercise.