Whether you are an elite runner or a newbie, running can be equally strenuous for both. But the most crucial aspect when it comes to running may not be your your form or your gear, but it is your diet! Running requires a lot of energy and if you don’t compensate for this with the appropriate foods then not only will you be running low on body fuel but it could also lead to deficiencies causing injuries.
According to Competitor.com there are some foods that a runner needs to consume everyday that will not only contribute towards overall health but will also pack an extra punch for your running-related requirements. This means increased energy levels, noticeable improvement in performance and speedy recovery. Here are 6 simple foods that you can source locally and add to your diet to stay energized.
For athletes, oatmeal is a godsend; it has a high fiber content, complex carbs and is a great source of protein, which ensures the steady release of energy that runners require. Along with low glycemic content, oatmeal also provides Vitamin B and antioxidants; it keeps cholesterol levels under check and is nourishing for physically demanding lifestyles. Oatmeal can be made into upma or porridge or can be simply added to cookies, bread and other baked goods .
Consuming probiotics on daily basis has also shown increased levels of immunity. Greek yogurt is packed with 23 grams of protein per cup and is also an awesome source of calcium and probiotics, making it great for a post-run snack. To make the most of your yogurt, make sure that the container says ‘live and active cultures’ right on the label. Stay away from the flavored varieties as the sugar can spur belly fat and lead to fluid retention in the mid-section area and hamper your performance.
Chia seeds are a favorite among vegan and vegetarian runners as they are packed with all the essential nutrients. They are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, phosphorus, calcium, protein and the carbs. The best way to consume chia seeds is by adding them to water and drinking up. They form a jelly like consistency which many might not find palatable. But don’t fret, you can add them to puddings, baked items, and smoothies for an extra punch.
A daily feature in the diets of most runners, bananas are chock-full of potassium and Vitamin B6, which act as an anti-inflammatory agent and keep heart diseases at bay. They also keep blood sugar under check, help regulate your digestive system and replenish your electrolytes after a heavy workout. Bananas are versatile and can be consumed raw or added to smoothies. You can also snack on them in the form of delicious banana nuggets and as fritters.
Avocados are very rich in potassium, even more than bananas. Potassium helps in reducing blood pressure and also reduces risk of strokes and heart attacks. Potassium is also need for proper electrolytic function and help enhance muscle strength. For runners, the anti-inflammatory properties of avocados are a boon as these can help with muscle soreness and cramping. In the long haul, avocados have been proven to aid in curing arthritis. You can eat avocados by cutting it open or by using it as a spread on your morning toast.
Many runners might just rely on caffeine to get them charged up before morning, but that’s just scratching the surface with caffeine. Coffee not only gets you mentally ready to face the day but it also increases your mental alertness, betters your mood, and boosts your desire to run harder. Caffeine could also play a role in mobilizing or utilizing fat stores as a fuel for your body. Caffeine catalyses the fatty acids in your blood stream to help convert fat into usable energy. Needless to say an espresso shot can have a telling impact on the initial few minutes of your exercise, making you conserve glycogen, enabling you to run or work out longer.