Best Foods for Runners: Fuel Your Body While Loosing Weight
There is a saying among athletes and coaches: You can’t balance a poor diet with training. Another saying I hear even from people who are not professional athletes: You are what you eat. Both are true. Diet is a tricky subject for runners, but an even more important one.
Runners have to pay a lot of attention to their diets. Their sport puts a significant strain on the body. The muscles and joints need the nutrients to recover. Most runners take in enough calories, but mostly in the form of processed foods, such as grains, energy bars and fizzy drinks. The truth is, raw vegetables, fruits and lean meats are the way to go if you want to consume both enough calories and nutrients.
Runners need to have a wide variety of foods on their plates each week. In our modern world it is very difficult to get enough of each vitamin. Inside the body the essential nutrients – vitamins, minerals – work together with thousands of other chemicals to keeps the vital systems of your body functioning. Grains, fats and oils are also vital for keeping these systems going. If the body gets enough of these, that results in a healthy life.
But getting all the different nutrients is hard. After all, you can’t make a checklist with hundred plus items and check each day if you had enough of them or not. Well, here are a few rules to make your life easier.
If you are looking to recover sooner after a demanding run, you can learn more about the subject from this article. Wearing one of the best compression socks for running can also help you recover faster.
1. Your five-a-day: Eat different coloured fruits and vegetables
Everybody knows that eating vegetables and fruits is good for you. But in order to get the best benefits, you need to eat a wide variety of them. When you walk into the grocery store, you can see hundreds of different colours of vegetables and fruits. Try to use as many colours in your diet, just like a painter would on his canvas.
Just to illustrate our point, here are a few examples. The yellow bananas are extremely rich in vitamin C. Blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants. Carrots and sweet potatoes get their orange colours from beta-carotene. This chemical is also an antioxidant, and has been shown to improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s.
2. Supplements are not enough
Nutrition companies offer a wide variety of excellent supplements. However taking just these supplements in isolation is not enough. These supplements have to interact with other compounds in your body, hence the importance of a varied diet. To continue the last example, taking only beta-carotene in a pill would not have the same effects as having a nice sweet potato salad together with lentils, spinach, and a nice grilled chicken breast on the side. In the second example all the other minerals, vitamins, oils, carbs and fats mix together and provide you with healthy fuel.
3. Don’t forget the seeds
Seeds are a vital source of two necessary nutrients: essential fats and antioxidants. Antioxidants found in seeds include phenolic compounds and ferric acid.
Seeds can help you improve health, and control your body weight. Whole grains and seeds lower the risk of developing diabetes and cancer, and they lower your cholesterol levels.
4. Eat fruits and veggies with their skins intact
The fruit skin is rich in fiber, since it has to protect the fruit from UV light, parasites and other invaders. The skins are full of phytochemical for this exact reason. Resveratol can be found in grapes, quercetin in the skin of onions. Both prevent prostate cancer and are vital for the immune system.
The skin of vegetables is also necessary for the bacteria inside the bowels. These also lower the risk of hemorroid and helps avoid constipation. Studies have shown that fibers from vegetable and fruit skin blocks absorption of up to three or four percent of calories consumed. This is how eating vegetables and fruits together with their skin can help you loose weight.
Although a vegetarian diet can be healthy, studies suggest that in the long run it can lead to problems. The body needs certain minerals and vitamins that are most common in meat. Also there are vitamins that are better absorbed if they are taken in meat form.
There are certain “experts” who link meat consumption to higher risks of cancer. What they don’t mention, that a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Excessive consumption of meat, and fatty meats are what get you into trouble.
5. So which are the good meats?
Nutritionists always talk about eating lean meats. But which animals count a lean meat exactly? Poultry and eggs are the two most recommended products for runners. These provide you with the minerals that would be hard to get from other, non-animal sources. Iron and zinc are hard to come across in other foods, but they are essential for red blood cell generation and maintaining a healthy immune system. Getting them from meat makes them easier to digest than if you would get them from other sources.
If you can afford it try to eat meat mainly from free-range animals. Grass-fed beef and free-range poultry contains higher levels of omega-3 fats, and less saturated fats.