The 6 Most Fantastic Foods to Revitalize Runners
Venture out into the streets in the early morning hours and ask any runner what they believe the best food is to support training, and 90% of the time, they’ll probably tell you it’s whole-grain pasta. There’s no doubt that pasta is a food ideally suited for cardio fuelling and training, providing slow-release unprocessed energy which can be essential for those endurance events.
However, a diet of just pasta doesn’t make up much of a balanced plan for nutrition. The most common mistake that many runners make is that they focus so much on keeping themselves fueled that they forget about the importance of repairing and rebuilding. Every time your foot hits the floor on a run, you could be damaging blood cells, and your muscles suffer from tiny amounts of microscopic damage.
With the right diet, you can ensure that you experience all of the benefits of running, while keeping your muscles in prime condition. From maintaining energy to repairing muscle, the body of a runner has a wide variety of special nutritional needs. With that in mind, here are some great foods for runners.
1. Wild Salmon
This won’t be the first time that someone’s advised you to eat salmon – and there’s a good reason for that. Wild salmon is an almost unbeatable source of omega-3 essential fatty acids – something which has been recognized as severely deficient in the diet of the average American. These fats can be used to boost the health of your heart by improving the functioning of the nervous system, and developing the elasticity of blood vessels. The benefits of wild salmon don’t stop with general health though, they also have an impact on exercise performance, providing increased cardiac output during moderate or low intensity activities.
Perhaps the most anti-oxidant rich fruit on earth, cherries contain an impressively high concentration of anthocyanin, which offer a wide range of health benefits, from preventing cancerous growth to maintaining healthy blood vessels. They’re also fantastic for athletic performance. In a scientific study, adding cherry juice to the diet of competitive rowers reduced the muscle soreness and strength loss that they experienced after a strength test created to cause muscle damage.
3. Oatmeal Porridge
The champion of breakfast foods, porridge simply consists of unprocessed oats, and not a lot else. When made with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, it provides the perfect mix of fiber, protein, and slow-release energy for runners. Be careful to stay away from instant variety options or oaty cereals however, since these are a less suitable choice than simple, pure porridge.
4. Peanut Butter and Bagel
If you’re one of the many individuals prone to hitting the road in a morning, then you’ll know just how difficult it can be to start running on an empty stomach. The chances are it will have been several hours since the last meal that you had the night before, meaning that your energy stores will be low. Eating a snack with up to 300 calories before you start running can give you the energy and determination you need. A peanut butter bagel is easy to digest, with plenty of protein and carbs.
Bananas are known throughout the globe as one of the most beneficial pre-race and pre-workout foods for runners and athletes alike. A massive-sized banana contains over thirty grams of carbs, a single gram of protein, and absolutely no fat whatsoever. These delicious pieces of fruit are also high in potassium, which is often lost through sweat during a period of exercise. Their light taste and texture make them easy to eat, even if you’re suffering from nerves before a race, and their nature-provided wrapper make them ideal for eating on the road.
A much-loved member of the cabbage family, Kale has been hailed as a superfood for some time now. A serving of kale doses the body with numerous vitamins, including B6, A, K, and C, as well as calcium and iron. On top of that, it is also rich in anti-oxidant, and has a five-star rating when it comes to encouraging optimum health. Kale is also useful for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can be helpful when exercise-induced muscle damage takes place for runners. Maintaining a diet that is rich with anti-inflammatory foods can help to reduce the risk of chronic muscle damage.
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.