Top 5 Superfoods Every Runner Must Eat
Written by: Kat Gal
Running is fun and exhilarating (at least, it is for me). The high-power workout is becoming increasingly popular and it’s not just because of the energizing thrill it provides.
Running is also GREAT for you in so many ways:
- It is good for your cardiovascular system.
- It increases your strength and stamina.
- It is a great stress reliever.
- It increases your confidence.
- It helps you control your weight.
- It ensures strong legs.
- It increases your bone density.
- It prevents high blood pressure.
- It is wonderful for your overall mental health.
But running and other endurance activities can also be hard on your body. When you run, oxidative stress occurs, micro-tears appear in your muscles, you lose minerals, you lose water, free radical production in your body increases, your acidity goes up, inflammation occurs and your immune system has the potential to be compromised – if you’re not taking the proper measures to keep your body balanced and healthy.
That all may sound scary at first, but it only means that you have to pay attention to your diet even more. You have to eat the right foods to recover quicker and perform better.
Superfoods are an enormous help in both recovery and performance of runners and endurance athletes. Even if you are not an athlete, superfoods are super healing for you too. You may feel so good eating them that you decide to take on running. How about that!?
Superfoods are the most potent and nutrient-dense foods on the plant with higher nutrient-to-calorie ratios than any other food. They are full of vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids that are essential for your body.
Here are the top 5 superfoods every runner should eat:
Intense activities like running increase free radical production in your body while also increasing your metabolic rate. Antioxidants help counteract this increase of free radicals.
Berries, including blueberries, cranberries, acai and maqui are the highest in antioxidants. The most common antioxidants are vitamin C and E, which both help to neutralize free radicals. You can enjoy berries on their own, in salads, in trail mix (when dried) and in smoothies.
No wonder bananas are a long-time favorite among endurance athletes. I remember during my college running days when we would load up our van with bananas in the morning and munch on them before and after races. Bananas digest easily. They are full of potassium that is crucial for muscle contraction and heart health and they help keep muscle cramps away. Overall, they keep your energy levels steady.
Bananas also contain loads of magnesium, vitamin C and B6, which are all essential for your health. You can eat bananas as is or add them to smoothies, fruit salads or make banana ice cream (when frozen).
3. Coconut Water
Coconut water is Nature’s Gatorade. Coconut water is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It contains 5 essential electrolytes: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. As you lose salt and electrolytes during your run, coconut water can be a life-saver to replace them. Make sure to drink coconut water after your workouts. You can add it to your smoothies too.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that provides fundamental nutrients for you. It contains calcium, chlorophyll, niacin, phytonutrients, potassium, enzymes, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. It is an excellent source of protein with all essential amino acids. You may take spirulina capsules or add powders to water or your juice.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are one of the most nutrient-rich seeds and one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are full of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids with a healthy ratio. They are anti-inflammatory and are great for lubricating your joints and cells due to these omegas. They are high in protein and calcium that are good for muscle growth and repair as well as bone strength. You can enjoy chia seeds in chia puddings, in smoothies and in homemade granola.
The next time you plan on going for a nice run around the block or pounding some miles out on the treadmill, start adding these amazing superfoods to your diet and see how much of a difference they can make for you! Feel free to share any thoughts or experiences in the comments below, we love hearing from you!
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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