Carbohydrates help the body recover and strengthen the immune system after intense workouts
Intense physical activity challenges the immune system. Evidence suggests that for a brief amount of time immediately after an intense workout our bodies are more prone to disease, particularly in the case of athletic endurance exercise. Research led by Dr Jonathan Peake and Dr Oliver Neubauer, from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, has recently been published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
In the long term physical exercise is extremely beneficial for health and scientific evidence strongly suggests that physical activity reduces the risk of disease including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many forms of cancer. The research revealed the most effective nutritional way to avoid the immediate negative changes in the immune system that occurs immediately after intense exercise appears to be the consumption of carbohydrates during or immediately after exercise. Co lead author Dr Neubauer explains that this is particularly helpful for people who undertake high intensity activity for sessions of 90 minutes or more. The researchers report that the reason why carbohydrates are so beneficial could be because they maintain blood sugar levels and that having stable blood sugar levels reduces the body's stress response. Reducing the body's stress response moderates any undesirable mobilisation of immune cells.
About the journal: The Journal of Applied Physiology is a monthly peer reviewed journal of physiology published by the American Physiological Society.