Runners and athletes love food, and they are always looking for their next nourishment. From fueling a long run to recovering after a long distance marathon, Ultra or training, the food runners and athletes they focus on could affect every step. Whole, natural foods provide the best benefits for runners and athletes, but there are some top foods that provide such extraordinary health benefits so that’s why athletes should eat them.
Believe it or not those red beets are a powerhouse of nutrition. They have an earthy taste, but beets, and beet juice specifically, are great for runners and athletes because they boost endurance. Beet juice is reported to help improve blood flow and improve our body’s tolerance to high-intensity exercise. Nitrates, found in beetroot juice, are converted to a helpful compound in the body that boosts blood flow. Because of the resulting flow, the amount of oxygen our body needs decreases, and enables our body to run more efficiently.
Purchase a bunch of beets for roasting or juicing. Cubed beets can be steamed and then frozen, and make a great addition to smoothies.
2. SWEET POTATOES
This complex carbohydrate is an athlete’s dream. Bursting with flavour and easy to digest, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which helps ward off colds and accelerates wound healing. Another vitamin present is vitamin D, which helps regulate our energy levels and supports thyroid health. Other beneficial minerals include iron for a healthy immune system, magnesium for healthy stress levels, and potassium for a healthy heart and nerves.
Sweet potatoes are incredibly versatile and simple to prepare. They can be added to soups or stews, or a whole potato can be roasted and make a wonderful enrichment to any meal. If we’re craving something sweet, we can pair this orange potato with a little yogurt and a portion of nut butter for a sweet snack. To fully benefit from the sweet potatoes’ nutrition, pair it with a little fat. Not only can they be orange, but they can also be a beautiful shade of purple.
The combination of turmeric and ginger have become a trend because of their healing properties, and have found their way into the mainstream latte. Both turmeric and ginger have incredible anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric increases the antioxidant properties in the body, while ginger is efficient for healing aching muscles. Ginger is also great at easing digestive stress.
While the dried spices still have some health benefits (opt for organic spices), the raw versions pack the best punch. They can be grated and added into nice recipes like the dried version. They can also be added to ourfavourite smoothie.
This dark green is extremely nutrient dense- vitamin K to build bone density, phytonutrients that allow for optimal cell function, fiber to keep us full and regular, and antioxidants that can prevent diseases.
Spinach can be eaten raw in salads or sandwiches, added to smoothies, or sautéed with a little olive oil. Chopped spinach can be added to meals near the end of the cooking process for extra colour and nutrition. Or we can simply add some spinach underneath our favourite meal.
Broccoli is a great source of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and most importantly is low in calories and fat.
Also, this green vegetables is high in fiber, it keeps us fill and helps control our hunger.
Broccoli is very filling and is low in calories.
Keep in mind that cooked broccoli is about 90 percent water by weight.
This awesome green is also high on calcium, and Vitamins A, C and K. Broccoli is a powerful ingredient in fighting against all sorts of cancer, blood pressure, heart diseases and other health disease.
One cup of cooked broccoli has twice the amount of the daily required of Vitamin K and C.
Make the most of it by adding it to your salads, or on the side of your main meal.
Healthy fat is extremely important for athletes. Fat is needed in the body to regulate hormones and also helps fuel the body. While carbohydrates provide the majority of energy needed for low-intensity exercise, fats are used for energy during longer or higher-intensity workouts. Fats also play a key role in recovery, as they fight inflammation. And avocados are delicious foods.
Avocado can be added to most meals as a topper, or whipped up into guacamole. And we can add half of an avocado into our favourite smoothie recipe, it provides a luscious creaminess.
Salmon has a lot to offer and fits nicely into a healthy diet plan.
An 85 grams serving of Salmon has 150 calories, 20 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat.
This fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help us lower blood pressure, prevent heart diseases and a multiple health trouble.
Omega-3s are also great for reducing inflammation in our body, which can help us bounce back faster following a hard workout and build stronger muscles in the long run.
In addition, Salmon, and seafood in general, scores high on iodine, which is a key nutrient for proper thyroid functioning, which is vital for keeping our metabolism running optimally.
Make sure to broil salmon and use spices, lemon juice, herbs and garlic for calorie-free flavour.
And never cook them using butter or oil because doing so can significantly increase the calorie and fat.
Other fish with similar benefits- sardines mackerel, trout, herring and other types of oily fish.
Protein is an essential part of athletes and runner’s diet, but eating too much fat can add unwanted weight and slow us down. Chicken breast is a healthy protein source. Half a roasted chicken breast of 86 grams contains 26.68 grams of protein and just 3 grams of fat.
The average protein requirement for people varies between 15% and 25%, but it may be as high as 35% depending on our body type and training routine. In general, runners and athletes require more protein than most people to help rebuilding muscle and supporting recovery after tough long runs and sessions. What’s more, the selenium in chicken also helps protect our muscles from free radical damage that occurs when we exercise.
This versatile, mild flavoured meat can also be added to soups, salads, sandwich or a nice meal with sweet potatoes, broccoli, beets and avocado.
Bananas are great almost any time for a runner. With 18.5 to 34.7 grams of carbohydrates, 0.9 to 1.7 grams of protein, and very little fat (0.27g to 0.5g), they are an easy to digest snack to fuel up on before, during or after a run. They are also easy to carry and to eat on the go, and we replenish those glycogen stores while we eat a banana. Post workout, they help restore salts and lost through our sweat while we were running. Each fruit has anywhere from 290 to 544 mg of potassium, 18 to 33 mg of phosphorus, 4 to 8 grams of calcium, and 22 to 41 mg of magnesium- all nutrients we need for a solid run.
As a runner, we need lots of antioxidants to fight against the free radicals that our body produces through its metabolic processes.
According to a 2008 study, berries are at the top of the list for antioxidant capabilities, highest among 25 fruits and berries.
Berries and blueberries are also rich in manganese, a mineral involved in converting carbs, protein, and fats into energy.
Additional resource- Vitamin D for runners and athletes.
Almonds are a good addition to our diet in general. Try and have them 3 to 5 times a week. The vitamin E in almonds acts as an antioxidant which can ease muscle soreness and help with recovery. As research has shown, vitamin E supplementation can help counter oxidative stress and muscle damage experienced as a result of running. Almonds are a heart-healthy food, so we should consume a small handful on regular days.
Almonds aren’t very easy to digest, so we should not have almonds just before a run or training session. Adding a nut butter on toast goes down easier and gives us the energy boost we need. We should add almonds into oatmeal at breakfast or on a salad or soup at lunch or dinner. Or we can just eat them plain or roasted.
Focus On The Healthiest Top Foods, Enjoy Super Overall Health Benefits And Strong Recovery, Enjoy Wonderful Runs And Great Training Sessions!