Advice from Shiseido Running Club’s registered dietitian, Emi Kawano, on a daily balanced diet

In the eighth issue, Shiseido Running Club’s registered dietitian Ms. Kawano shares her tips on a daily balanced diet. Ms. Kawano is indispensable to the Shiseido Running Club and its 12 members in pursuit of their best performance.

Fri Apr. 26, 2019

Not only athletes and runners but many people are interested in their daily diet and nutritional balance. Ms. Kawano has come to give her advice.

ADVICEProfessional advice on running

Check your body weight to see if you eat right

Do you know if you eat right every day?
There’s an easy way to check without counting calories. It’s called body scaling. The weight remains unchanged if energy intake (how much you eat) and energy consumption (how much you move your body) stays equal, and you can also keep a healthy physique (BMI). If the amount you eat surpasses the energy you consume while moving your body, you will gain weight, and if it lowers, you lose weight. So, if you get accustomed to body scaling, you’ll find easy to control what you eat and how much you need to move your body.

To see if you eat appropriately or not, check your BMI (Body Mass Index) as a benchmark. If your BMI is above the target BMI score, it suggests excess energy intake, and if it lowers, it means an energy shortage. If your BMI is out of range, check meal volumes and contents, and try to have balanced meals.

BMI = Body weight (kg) ÷ height (m) ÷ height (m)

Age group Target BMI
18~49 18.5~24.9
50~69 20.0~24.9
70 and over 21.5~24.9

Source: Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese (2015)

Aim for a balanced diet

A balanced diet is very important for not only runners but everyone to keep a healthy body. Making a balanced choice means we need to eat various kinds of foods and take in enough nutrients.

In the Shiseido Running Club, I provide members with breakfasts and dinners on weekdays and breakfasts on Saturday. Our regular dinner includes the staple food of rice, meat or fish for the main dish, a few side-dishes, soup, and fruits. For breakfasts, I choose egg as a main dish and some yogurt for dessert. A good combination of staple food, main and side dishes, dairy foods and fruits easily makes for a well-balanced meal. Furthermore, by increasing the varieties of the main dish, different kinds of meat and fish, we can take in good nutrients and enjoy various tastes too.

Indulge yourself once in a while. Too strict a diet works adversely

Currently, I manage members’ diets by asking them to take photos of their meals and using an app that records their menu. The members can choose what they eat for lunch on weekdays and weekend meals, so I check their photos to see if their eating habits are appropriate or not and give advice if needed.

If I control them too tightly, being too hard on them, they may feel stressful, possibly resulting in poor performance. So, I don’t force but encourage them to control it themselves, which is very important. In that sense, it could be said that trying not to be stressed out, not to push yourself too hard, is part of a healthy balanced diet too.

Thanks to Ms. Kawano for her tips on a balanced diet. Next, here’s a collection of tips on “sports anemia” which requires particular attention.


Measures against anemia which hinders running performance

Do you somehow feel strange and dizzy even though you’re running your regular course at the right pace? If so, you may be suffering from sports anemia. Female runners need to be more aware of it as women are more likely to suffer anemia than men.

Here is a feature on sports anemia, which has a significant impact on running performance, and an introduction to its causes and preventive measures.

What is sports anemia?

Sports anemia often occurs among athletes playing hard sports as they undergo a significant amount of physical activity. The main cause of sports anemia is iron deficiency, a shortage of hemoglobin. Iron can be lost through sweating and because erythrocytes containing hemoglobin are broken due to the landing impact of running. We can end up with sports anemia, for instance, when we sweat a lot while running a long-distance of 10,000 steps or more.

Symptoms of sports anemia

・Easily tired
・Loss of appetite
・Body fatigue
・Pale color inside the lower eyelids

If the above symptoms persist, you may have sports anemia. If symptoms never disappear, you’d better consult your doctor instead of making your own judgement.

Lack of hemoglobin is a key cause of sports anemia. Hemoglobin is a type of protein contained in red blood cells and works to carry oxygen, etc. If the amount of our red blood cells and hemoglobin is low, we cannot efficiently use the oxygen taken in by breathing, which in turn results in hypoxia.

Trying to break out of hypoxia, the body tries to increase heart rate and blood flow to carry more oxygen. Under such circumstances, even light exercise will cause palpitations and shortness of breath, resulting in a decrease in endurance, and you will feel fatigue even when you are running a short distance.

In addition, chronic fatigue leads to a decrease of concentration and motivation. The longer this symptom lasts, the poorer your performance will be.

Nutrients that work for anemia and you need to take actively

As a measure against sports anemia, it’s important to replenish the iron lost during a workout. Heme iron, which is often contained in animal foods, is recommended because of its high absorption rate. Non-heme iron, which is abundant in vegetable foods, has a low absorption rate, but when taken together with vitamin C, the absorption rate increases. Plus, try to eat foods that are rich in protein, the source of hemoglobin, on a daily basis. In particular, women who are prone to anemia should always take in iron-rich foods on a regular basis.

●Animal foods (heme iron):Pork liver, chicken liver, beef liver, beef thigh, bonito, sardines, tuna, clams, etc.
●Vegetable foods (non-heme iron): Vegetable foods (non-heme iron): Komatsuna, spinach, hijiki seaweed (dried), dried daikon radish, natto, tofu, soy beans, frozen tofu, roasted soybean flour, etc.


Shiseido Running Club

Dedicated to a track and field until high school. Once selected as a representative athlete for The Inter-Prefectural Women's Ekiden, she serves the roles of both nutritionist and older sister to the team runners. She rides an electric bicycle to buy for 12 runners at a nearby supermarket every day. She also manages food expenses using her supermarket bargain hunting expertise.