The beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest

Anyone who has cycled the mythical white roads up and down the extraordinary Chianti hills knows that L'Eroica - like any sports challenge - requires respect and preparation.

"The beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest” means for sure sharing passions and emotions whit other riders, but also pouring a lot of sweat on the pedals! A challenge that luckily doesn’t hold us to renounce the pleasures of genuine food and good wine - while sitting at table of Eroica Caffè, or at the mythical Eroica refreshments. And that can be approached with the valuable advice of Alce Nero nutritionists, who share with Eroica the same values of genuineness, respect for the territory and love for sport .

Physical and sporting activities are essential to facilitate full body development, and promote and maintain optimal health, both in the short and long term. For this reason, if the first step is to design a training program specifically for the athlete, his/her discipline and objectives, a healthy diet is the basis for a favourable psychophysical condition. Food provides nourishment that the body converts into structural elements and energy to perform muscular work. Food quantity, quality and the proportion in which it is consumed determines the efficacy and wholesomeness of the diet which must be adequate and varied, aimed at satisfying the need for energy (calories) and nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals) in a balanced way. An important aspect in the athlete's diet is fibre, from both wholegrains and vegetables and fruit that are rich in water and antioxidant polyphenolic compounds, which perform a protective and anti-inflammatory function. Let's not forget that water is the base of the athlete’s food pyramid: proper hydration is essential, before, during and after physical activity.

Here are a few essential rules to maintain a healthy lifestyle:

1. Never skip breakfast;

2. Avoid snacking on sandwiches and foods that are too high in salt and sugar (especially if they replace regular and balanced meals);

3. Eat fruit and vegetables daily to get enough fibre, vitamins, salts and antioxidants, preferably choosing organic, fresh and low-carbon footprint products;

4. Eat whole grains and legumes;

5. Always read the label and avoid products rich in additives, colourings and preservatives: a good product should have a short list of ingredients;

6. Hydrate yourself by drinking water in adequate quantities, avoiding fizzy and sugary drinks;

7. At least once a week, eat vegetarian: it helps to eliminate toxins;

8. Avoid smoking and excessive amounts of alcohol;

9. Follow a regular workout program that is suited to your fitness level;

10. Take time to recover and relax! Stress is a silent enemy that can cause various diseases.

Dr. Renata Alleva, Specialist in Food Science, University of Bologna, ISDE.