As a runner you probably see food as a source of fuel, vitamins and minerals that energizes your body. Therefore, you’d probably be interested in finding super foods to boost your performance and overall health. Although no food is powerful enough to shave minutes off your 5K time or repair your muscles in half the time, some foods, are nutrient-dense and thus a good inclusion in a runner’s diet.
Blueberries have among the highest concentration of antioxidants per ounce of any other fruit or vegetable. Antioxidants reduce free radicals, which your body is constantly producing through its metabolic processes. Intense exercise such as running increases metabolic rate, which temporarily increases free radical production as well. Excessive free radical production without sufficient antioxidants to counteract them may be linked to diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Blueberries are also a good source of manganese, a mineral involved in converting carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. Add blueberries to cereal, yogurt or smoothies, or eat them by themselves.
This whole grain, similar to couscous in appearance, is rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, riboflavin and antioxidants. Quinoa is one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids. This combination of carbohydrates and protein makes quinoa an optimal post-run recovery food, as the carbohydrates replenish muscle glycogen and the protein provides amino acids for muscle repair. Since quinoa has a relatively neutral, slightly nutty flavor, you can use it in place of rice in many dishes.
Cold-water fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are another good source of complete protein to aid post-run muscle recovery. Additionally, the essential omega-3 fatty acids in these fish may lower levels of prostaglandin, naturally occurring hormone-like substances that increase whole-body inflammation. This may be useful if you have sore or inflamed joints and muscles caused by running. However, some varieties of fish, such as farmed salmon and king mackerel, are high in methyl-mercury, which can be harmful when consumed in excess. Therefore, opt for low-mercury fish as much as possible and avoid high-mercury fish altogether if you are pregnant or nursing.
Did you doubt it? As a runner, you may shy away from fats in favor of carbohydrates. However, avocados are worth adding to your diet since they provide healthy monounsaturated fats, along with runner-friendly nutrients such as potassium and vitamin E. Monounsaturated fats are necessary for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins and they help provide lasting feelings of fullness, which may help you control your weight. Potassium is an essential electrolyte and plays an important role in your running since it aids in regulating heart and muscle contraction. Furthermore, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and sequesters the free radicals produced by running. Add sliced avocados to your sandwiches, salads or omelets to add flavor and healthy fat.
Make sure you add some of these ingredients in every meal.
Until the next one!
Original source: sfgate.com