“Eat pasta, run fasta!” The mantra flashes in my mind over and over when I think of fueling up for a run. Whole grain pasta provides the body with healthy carbs and B vitamins to boost energy but only focusing on carbs can hinder training progress. Below are some less obvious foods to incorporate into your diet if you are logging miles or want the most out of your tough workouts.
Not only will they support a healthy immune system but their vitamin C content can help prevent muscle soreness after an intense workout, according to a study from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Additionally, eating an orange prior to working out can help keep you hydrated, since the water in the fruit will be released at a slow and steady rate while it digests.
2. Chicken Breast
Don’t forget the protein! Increased amounts of anaerobic exercise (the kind that’s best for burning fat) or especially long aerobic workouts can break down muscle. And since more muscle means a higher resting metabolic rate, better running form, and less stress on your joints, taking care of your muscles is important no matter your goals. If your mileage/workload is increasing, there’s a good chance your protein requirement is too.
3. Dark Chocolate
I am rejoicing! Just another reason I don’t feel bad for indulging in my favorite treat. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonols which are great for heart health. A strong pumper is essential for distributing oxygen to your hard working muscles. Go ahead– eat the chocolate. Don’t trust the store bought kind that can be full of preservatives and sneaky sweeteners? Here’s my go to recipe.
Am I the only one who eats this plain for a snack? I swear I’m not crazy. Sauerkraut is so good for digestive health. And anyone who has personally experienced “runners gut” of any degree can appreciate the importance of a healthy gut. Sauerkraut offers more probiotic benefits than most brands probiotic capsules and way less sugar than yogurt. As with most foods, look at the ingredients and make sure you can recognize them, avoid brands with too many additives. If you don’t like it plain, try adding it into your greens or on a rueben. Creativity is key when it comes to healthy eating!
5. Red Meat and/or Leafy Greens
Whether you’re a runner or not, you should be eating lots of leafy greens because of all of their phytonutrients. (micronutrients that come from plants) But I include red meat (which have zoonutrients) because the target nutrient here is Iron– not to mention, I live in the Midwest where beef is usually what’s for supper. Iron is so good for your blood and improves muscle function which means it is essential for runners or any one else with a demanding workout schedule. Blood with a high capacity for carrying oxygen to muscles while working out can help you keep pushing.
Ultimately, balance is key. Focusing on just one food group will leave your body needing more. Adding variety will help your body be a well-oiled running machine.
Who else is ready for spring so they can leave treadmill workouts in the past? (at least for a little while)