Best Super Foods For Runners
If you’re a runner, it’s important to give your body adequate nutrients and energy so you can perform better and reduce the risk of injury. As one of the most intensive sports or workouts around, runners should incorporate superfoods to boost stamina and support the body.
Here are the best superfoods for runners.
Avocados are one of the top plant-based foods for protein, which helps build lean muscle mass. They can help you feel fuller longer because of their high monounsaturated fat content, especially useful for long runs.
As well as this, they are an excellent source of vitamin B and C, which both need to be topped up daily since the body doesn’t store these vitamins. One avocado has 322 calories on average.
Beet juice contains nitrate which is transformed into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide improves blood flow and oxygen which increases performance. Beet juice also contains many essential minerals and vitamins including folate, iron, zinc, copper, calcium, and manganese. One cup of beet juice has 100 calories on average.
Chia Seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to relieve joint pain (including in the knees, a common issue for runners). They also are also excellent for keeping you hydrated. This is because they can absorb up to 30 times their weight in water. They also help retain electrolytes.
On average, there are 138 calories found in 1 oz of chia seeds. Chia seeds are very high in fiber so can cause abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea if overconsumed. However, they are safe to eat daily, in moderation.
Oatmeal is known for supporting stamina in endurance runners. It is high in soluble fiber and complex carbohydrates, providing energy. Oatmeal also has a low glycemic index giving you a sustained release of energy. It also has vitamin B and antioxidants. It contains 120 calories per 1 oz (dry).
Bananas are packed full of vitamins and nutrients and make an excellent quick snack, either pre or post-run. They are high in potassium which supports muscle function and reduces cramping. Bananas also contain vitamin B6 which is anti-inflammatory helping with joint pain. Bananas will help keep blood sugar levels low and provide lost electrolytes after a run. One medium banana has an average of 105 calories.
Salmon is highly regarded for its Omega-3 fatty acid content and vitamins B12 and B6. It is known to improve heart, joint, and lung health, essential for runners. It also reduces inflammation in the body and boosts your immune system.
The nutrients and vitamins in salmon will replenish and repair your muscles, meaning that on your next workout you will be able to perform at your best. You will find 177 calories in 3 oz of salmon. Eat it with the skin on if possible to receive all of the benefits and nutrients.
Kale has long been touted as a superfood and not just in runners’ circles. However, it has extra added value for runners because of its vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for bone development which is particularly important for high-intensity workouts. Kale is also full of vitamins A and B6, iron, and calcium. It’s also very low in calories and provides just 33 calories per cup of chopped kale.
Walnuts are widely regarded as the super nut for runners. That’s because they are full of so many nutrients and vitamins including Omega-3 fatty acid ALA, fiber, vitamin B, and vitamin E. The ALA can help maintain healthy bones, essential for long-distance and short-distance runners. They also contain a healthy dose of good fats and can reduce bad cholesterol. One oz of walnuts contains 185 calories.
Pumpkin and winter squash contain beta carotene which helps fight free radicals. When exercising, your body produces more free radicals (linked to cancer) so this is especially important if you train hard. Beta carotene also helps in vitamin A production, which is an essential vitamin for maintaining soft tissue. One cup of diced pumpkin contains around 30 calories.
As one of the leanest meats around, Turkey provides all the benefits of protein with fewer saturated fats than typical red meat. It also contains zinc which supports the immune system and will help heal any cuts by promoting blood clotting and helping to build cells.
It also has niacin (a type of vitamin B) which supports your metabolism. Runners need to maintain good levels of vitamin B because a deficiency can dampen anaerobic and aerobic exercise performance.
We hope you can start using these superfoods to your advantage. Fueling your body before a run and after a session can make a huge difference to your performance and how your body feels. By eating the best foods possible, you can minimize joint pain and inflammation and enjoy running longer and/or faster.
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