Running, professionally or for the sole purpose of keeping fit will leave you exhausted and drained of energy. Due to the strenuous nature of the activity, it is essential that runners maintain a healthy diet to ensure that their bodies have the sufficient nutrients to keep them going. To replenish the energy after each running session, there are specific foods that should be included in every runners diet.
In order to maintain an athletic physique it will work in your advantage to find yourself a sports nutritionist. A great nutritionist will guide you on what types of foods to stock and use to ensure you have all the minerals, vitamins, fats, antioxidants, proteins and other necessities that help your body function as required.
Among others, the following foods are a must have for any runner:
1. Whole Grains
Whole grain foods will help you keep a healthy heart, are good for digestion and will help maintain a healthy weight level. This is because they are made of naturally occurring nutrients gotten from the entire grain seed. Whether crushed, extruded or cracked, it is important to ensure that the product retains its nutrients as it must deliver a balanced richness to be effective. This means that the nutrients must be as they were in the original seed no matter the process used to make the final product. It is important to be able to identify your grains as some brands have labels that might mislead you. Whole grains have helpful information on their packages, eg. 100% whole grain or other such provisions. Others are naturally whole and therefore easy to pick out. They include Oatmeal, Brown rice and popcorn among others.
The exercise of running actively contributes to your bone density. Calcium, which is a great part of the bone building equation in your body, can be obtained in great quantities from yogurt. With a cup of this every day, your calcium intake is deemed sufficient and is therefore recommended. This drink also contains proteins suitable for building muscles. Research shows that muscle tissues are replenished and repaired fast when proteins are consumed at the completion of a workout- in this case,a running session. Keep a cup of yogurt at your finishing point the next time you go running.
3. Leafy Greens
Broccoli, kale, spinach, lettuce, cabbage and other types of vegetables are rich in Vitamins A, B6, C and K, which are key ingredients for peak performance and good health for a runner. They also contain iron and calcium in large quantities. The essence of these is that they act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents of the body. When you run, you sweat a lot. This means that your body is losing electrolytes. Taking large amounts of leafy greens after a run will help replenish the lost electrolytes naturally instead of having the artificial sweeteners . Runner Pops is recommended for this purpose as it is all natural and gives the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to replenish lost electrolytes. Running is bound to lead to muscles damage and can even cause chronic conditions. Including leafy greens in your meals reduces this risk.
There have been cases of runners collapsing due to lack of energy or suffering from unregulated blood pressure which at times leads to stroke. The secret to having a body rich in potassium and carbohydrates to avoid such incidences involves taking a banana even right before setting off. Bananas go a long way in boosting your energy and are therefore the best pre-workout and pre-race foods . The potassium contained in them helps in sweating while the carbohydrates ensure that you are energy-packed. A banana is light, affordable and has a soft feel in your hand, it shouldn’t be hard to carry one with you the next time you go to the to the track.
A great runner needs a healthy heart, lungs and great joints. Salmon contains nutrients needed to build and maintain the right balance in terms of health. Omega 3 fatty acids are contained in salmon and they ensure that you have a strong immune system during your marathons. Poor nutrition will over time lead to a heart attack ,a condition a runner cannot afford to have. Wild salmon provides the nutrients needed to boost your heart’s health.It also helps create more elastic blood vessels and contributes to the process of improving functions of the nervous system. With a healthy heart you can run off at top speed without a worry.
6. Lean Beef
While running, there is tearing and wearing out of muscles. If there is iron deficiency in your body, you are unable to produce healthy red blood cells(this cells are responsible for oxygen supply throughout your body and lack of them is likely to give you fatigue). Vitamin B-12 found in lean beef helps in the production of red blood cells in the body,and these components are essential for the production of hemoglobin. Lean meat contain irons and vitamin B, which help to quickly convert carbohydrates into the fuel you require to run. It is also a great source of proteins which are essential for a runner.
The benefits of almonds to a runner are many and instructive. These foods are the most nutrient-packed nuts and can be eaten at any time. Almonds can be eaten raw or added to salads. They can also be eaten on an empty stomach to increase the absorption of their nutrients and this makes them suitable to eat before a race. Regular consumption of almonds helps to reduce the level of bad cholesterol in a runner’s body. The phosphorous contained in them also impacts positively on an athlete’s quality and strength of bones . Almonds also protect arteries from inflammations which damage them by producing folic acid which in turn reduces the level of fatty plaque buildup.