As the saying goes, you are what you eat. When it comes to athletic activities such as running, the food you consume becomes way more important due to the minerals easily lost. Here are some of the best foods any runner should include in their meal plan, which is also applicable to the everyday person. Healthy eating is not exclusive to a sporty lifestyle after all. And for more tips and tricks, be sure to check out Air Beneath my feet running blog.
High in carbohydrates and potassium, the banana is the perfect snack before embarking on a long-distance run. For those who run in hot weather and sweat a lot, it is very easy to lose important minerals in your body. Bananas contain not only potassium but also other essentials nutrients such as sodium, magnesium, and chloride which replaces the lost minerals in your body and also lowers one’s blood pressure.
Perfect for a pre-run breakfast, one serving of oats contains 25 grams of carbs and is incredibly high in fiber. In addition, it also has a low glycemic index which results in a slower rise in one’s blood sugar levels, more energy, and more saturation for longer periods of time. Carbohydrates supply healthy adults with 50% of their total energy and oatmeal is one of the best ways to meet those needs for a good fulfilling run.
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Unlike commercially produced peanut butter which contains unhealthy additives such as sugar, salt, and oil; pure peanut butter is rich in vitamin E which is an incredible antioxidant for the body. Although peanuts contain a lot of fat, do remember that these are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which can help keep cholesterol levels in the blood low. They help to strengthen the immune system, as well as prevent and speed-up any existing injuries. Peanut butter also supplies a good amount of protein which helps with muscle growth. Some ways to enjoy peanut butter is to spread it on toast with banana slices or dip it with some tasty and healthy apples.
As one of the best vegetables out there, broccoli is the king at providing vitamin C which helps to reduce and prevent the risk of inducing sore muscles during intense workouts. It is also high in calcium, folic acids, and vitamin K; making it incredibly rich in nutrients and vitamins. While broccoli seems to have it all, don’t be afraid to eat it generously with other healthy foods. One tip is to mix broccoli with tofu, healthy fish like salmon and lean beef makes it a tasty treat. The high intake of calcium also helps to strengthen our bones and prevents any potential injury that might occur during intensive workouts.
Not only is yogurt the ideal combination of carbohydrates and proteins, it also has an extremely high percentage of amino acids which is only available through eating foods. Consume it after a run and you may find yourself recovering more quickly. The calcium found in yogurt also helps to strengthen one’s bones and well-known for containing live lactic acid bacteria, yogurt also aids in improving gut health and boosting one’s overall immune system. This makes it an essential food, not just for athletes and runners, but also for the everyday person.
While chocolate may not be the first thing that pops up in the mind when one thinks of healthy foods, dark chocolate can actually help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels as it is made with at least 70% cocoa. The flavanols found in the treat also helps to reduce any instance of inflammation, making it a well-deserved and healthy treat for anyone to enjoy.
Do note that two or three squares of chocolate are enough, and can also be enjoyed with a healthy handful of mixed nuts.
There is meaning in people holding pasta parties the day before marathons. This is because not only is it delicious but consuming a high amount of carbohydrate also helps to increase one’s glycogen stores. This helps to provide one with enough energy needed to last for a marathon. Always make sure to choose whole-grain varieties over other types of carbohydrates as these contain higher amounts of saturation and B vitamins. These are useful for muscle growth as well as endurance and performance improvement. One delicious way to enjoy pasta is to eat it with tuna and tomato sauce, which helps to keep you full without feeling too heavy.
The caffeine contained in coffee can help to boost you during high-intensity interval trainings as it enables one to run faster. Do note that it is crucial to drink it without milk and sugar, just pure black coffee. Coffee also does not dehydrate a person as it only causes one to visit the bathroom more frequently. When consuming coffee, remember to drink more water to compensate for the toilet trips.
High in potassium, potatoes are another essential food for any runner. It also contains fewer calories than rice and paired with other healthy foods, it can make up a healthy and fulfilling meal after a workout. Do not just stick to regular potatoes though, as there are many healthy alternatives as well. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and one is enough to fulfill the body’s daily requirement. This serves as an antioxidant that helps to improve one’s eyesight, strengthen bone tissue, and improve the overall immune system.
A healthy diet is one that is well-balanced and full of different vitamins and nutrients. Especially when it comes to demanding sports such as running and long-distance trips, a lot of energy and minerals are easily lost. While we constantly demand performance from our bodies, the least we can do is to take care of it. Make sure to take care of yourself by feeding yourself only the best foods and don’t be afraid to mix them together for some absolutely delicious and appetizing meals.
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