Any runner or other active person should be eating foods that help their all-round fitness, as well as improving energy and recovery. A well planned diet should include quality carbohydrates to fuel the muscles, a good source of healthy fats, lean protein, and fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Here are five useful foods for runners:
Eat wild salmon to get a reliable source of omega-3 fats. These essential fatty acids provide a variety of benefits such as improving the nervous system and creating more elastic blood vessels. This is not only effective at boosting heart health, but can also help improve exercise performance. Also, it is possible to take fish oil supplements to increase the amount of blood pumped on each heart contraction. This is more beneficial for those involved in exercises with a low to moderate intensity.
Cherries are rich in a type of antioxidant known as anthocyanins. Antioxidants are useful for a variety of reasons, such as slowing the growth of cancerous tumors and maintaining healthy blood vessels. Plus, they are great to give a boost to athletic performance. For the athlete, a regular glass of cherry juice can help to reduce muscle soreness and the amount of strength loss.
Kale is one of the most antioxidant-rich vegetables, as well as containing high levels of calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and K. Plus, it contains useful anti-inflammatory properties. Adding kale to the diet can help to minimize issues with muscle damage related to daily exercise. Other anti-inflammatory foods that are useful for the runner include tomatoes, spinach, tuna, sardines, blueberries and strawberries.
Bananas are a great pre-race or workout food for runners. It is rich in carbohydrates. A single large banana has no fat, 1 gram of protein, and 30 grams of carbohydrate. Plus, it is a useful source of potassium which is easily lost at the time of exercise through sweat. This light and soft fruit is easy to eat even when experiencing issues with pre-race nerves.
Runners are best prepared for physical activity when at least 60% of their daily intake is sourced from carbohydrates. This helps to maximize the body’s ability to perform. A simple way to start the carbohydrate intake is with breakfast. A high-carb breakfast option is oatmeal, which has nearly 26 grams per serving. Plus, oatmeal is a low-glycemic index food and rich in fiber to give long-lasting energy.