Fuel for Fitness: The 7 Best Foods to Eat When You’re Working Out
Exercise is a salient way to look better, feel better, and have more energy on a daily basis. Countless studies have proven the benefits of regular exercise, for both the body and mind. However, some people struggle to find the extra boost that they may need to get started on a new routine. Some people turn to energy and sports drinks for help, whereas others drink caffeine like it’s going out of stock! But what if there were natural, healthy foods out there that could help to fuel your fitness regimen, and leave you feeling better after a hard day at the gym?
These super foods could be snacks you need to help you run further, jump higher, and push yourself further than ever before. This list is full of bites that will allow your body to get the most out of a workout, and even aid you in your post-workout recovery. Perhaps even more importantly, they’re all things that you’ll actually enjoy eating.
Blueberries have been hailed as a superfood for some time now, due to the amount of free-radical-removing antioxidants that they contain. For those who don’t know, free radicals are the toxins that can travel around your body damaging cells, triggering premature aging, and prompting disease. However, fresh fruit is incredibly beneficial to eat during and after exercise, as it contains a lot of carbohydrate-packed sugars. These sugars will give your muscles energy quickly and keep you going for longer. Frozen blueberries, which are usually quite cheap, are great in a quick post-exercise smoothie, as they’ll help to replenish the glycogen in your muscles.
This is another food that could join in the ‘fresh fruit’ category. Tomatoes are low in calories and brimming with Vitamin C, as well as a marvelous antioxidant known as lycopene. Lycopene has made the media headlines several times over the past few years due to its ability to reduce the chances of prostate cancer in men. Tomatoes have been found to help boost the natural hormones within your body that promote weight loss, such as leptin, the protein which regulates appetite and metabolic rate.
3. Dried Fruits
Packed with natural sugars, dried fruits including raisins and apricots, offer up a sterling source of concentrated carbohydrates for your energy levels. They also pack a dose of potassium, fiber, phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins into every bite. If you’re the sort of person who like to run to keep fit, or enjoys endurance exercises, dry fruit is a stellar natural substitute for energy gels. Eat a couple of servings before you start running, or match a serving of dried fruit to every hour you’re expecting to exercise for.
4. Brazil nuts
Just about every nut you can buy is packed with minerals, vitamins and fiber, but Brazil nuts are also high in selenium, a micronutrient which can boost your immune system and reduce the chances of cancer and heart disease. The good fats that exist within nuts can help to target and reduce cholesterol levels, but you should be careful not to eat too many, as they can build up hefty sums of calories. When you exercise, you’re likely to become hungry quicker, so you’ll want healthy snacks to curb your appetite. Nuts can fill your stomach much better than other snacks.
If you’re tempted to grab a caffeinated drink before your workout, try a glass of milk instead. Milk is full of water, protein that heals your muscles, calcium that strengthens your bones and sugar that helps you to stay fueled for longer. Milk is an outstanding drink for improving your activity levels, and chocolate milk has actually been known as a popular choice for many endurance athletes. It sounds like something you shouldn’t have on a diet, but chocolate milk gives you two essential ingredients for rebooting after a workout- protein and carbs. If you want to stay clear of chocolate, a homemade smoothie or milkshake will work just as well.
6. Sweet Potatoes
There are dozens of ways that you can eat sweet potatoes. Mashed, baked, or even boiled, they’re a healthier option than regular potatoes, and come packed with iron, fiber, vitamin C, and beta-carotene to fight back against disease. Sweet potatoes are stellar for endurance exercises, since they give you the carbs you need to keep going for longer. They also contain a large amount of electrolyte potassium, which helps to prevent your muscles from cramping up when you exercise.
It may sound too good to be true, but cocoa is actually rich in magnesium, antioxidants, and crucial amino acids. If you want to get the most out of cocoa, you’ll need it to be as pure as possible, this means sticking to nibs or powder on your fruit, granola, or yoghurt. An incredible thing about exercising more often is that you can be a little more lenient when it comes to eating naughty foods. However, if you can, stick to dark chocolate and remember, the higher the cocoa content, the better it’ll be for you.
About Benjamin Roussey Benjamin is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. He enjoys sports, movies, reading, and current events when he is not working online.