Enough has been waxed poetic about energy bars, nutrient enhanced drinks and packaged food. And even though those are necessary if you are a serious runner, the trick is to never lose sight of real, wholesome food. The vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that you take in in the form of vegetables, fruit and meat, work together within the body with several other compounds to get you to feel healthy and strong.
We’re going to give you a list of some of the most essential and nutritious foods that can help your body with its metabolism, strength and all round well being.
Colors – This can actually be fun to do. Eat 5 different colored fruits and vegetables in a day. Yellow, red, green, purple, blue, orange and all the shades in between make up the fruit and veggie aisles. There are over 400 pigments to choose from, and each color signifies a unique health benefit. From anthocyanins, to beta carotene, to lycopene, help your body in more ways than you know. From lowering your risk of cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, to providing your body with a healthy dose of antioxidants, the list is endless. So, go crazy with the colors and light up your food.
Go free range – Eating lean meat gives runners all their protein. Meats are a great source for iron and zinc, which support healthy red blood cells and boost your immune system. But it is important to eat the meat of animals that have been raised in open pastures (that graze on grass) rather than stockyard raised, corn-fed animals. Free range animal meat has less saturated fats and contains more omega 3 fats.
Seeds – Seeds contain health boosting compounds. They have nutrients like protein and essential fats, but also contain bioactive compounds which act as antioxidants. People who eat beans and grains have a lower risk of getting diabetes and certain cancers, and their cholesterol levels are also lower than those who do not.
These are the three broad categories of food and it’s properties that you have to keep in mind. A healthy body means a better run, so eat well, and run hard!