Welcome to this month’s guest post from Beth Roessner, aka The Rungry Health Coach! In case you missed Beth’s first post, check out her tips for pre- and post-workout fueling here. Today Beth is sharing the 5 best foods for runners – how many of them do you eat?
5 BEST FOODS FOR RUNNERS
Runners love food, and they are always looking for their next nosh. From fueling a long run to recovering after a marathon, the food choices runners make affect their every step. Whole, natural foods provide the best benefits to runners, but there are five foods that provide such extraordinary health benefits runners should gobble them up.
Believe it or not those red orbs are a powerhouse of nutrition. Yes, they have an earthy taste (Ok, dirt…They taste like dirt), but beets, and beet juice specifically, are great for runners because they boost endurance. How? Beet juice is reported to help improve blood flow and improve your body’s tolerance to high-intensity exercise. Nitrates, found in beetroot juice, are converted to a helpful compound in the body that boosts blood flow. Because of the resulting flow, the amount of oxygen your body needs decreases, and enables your body to run more efficiently.
Purchase a bunch of beets at your local farmers’ market for roasting or juicing. Cubed beets can be steamed and then frozen, and make a great addition to smoothies.
This complex carbohydrate is a runner’s dream. Bursting with flavor and easy to digest, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which helps ward off colds and accelerates wound healing. Another vitamin present is vitamin D, which helps regulate our energy levels and supports thyroid health. Other beneficial minerals include iron for a healthy immune system, magnesium for healthy stress levels, and potassium for a healthy heart and nerves.
Sweet potatoes are incredibly versatile and simple to prepare. Chunks can be added to soups or stews, or a whole potato can be roasted and make a wonderful accompaniment to any meal. Craving something sweet? Pair this orange tuber with a little yogurt and a dollop of nut butter for a late-night sweet treat. To fully benefit from the sweet potatoes’ nutrition, pair it with a little fat. Not only can they be orange, but they can also be white or a beautiful shade of purple.
Have you heard of the golden milk trend? The duo of turmeric and ginger have become all the rage because of their healing properties, and have found their way into the mainstream latte. Both turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric increases the antioxidant properties in the body, while ginger is great at healing aching muscles. Ginger is also great at easing digestive stress caused by one too many goos.
While the dried spices still have some health benefits (opt for organic spices), the raw versions pack the best punch. They can be grated and added into recipes like their dried counterparts. They can also be added to your favorite smoothie.
This dark green is extremely nutrient dense—vitamin K to build bone density, phytonutrients that allow for optimal cell function, fiber to keep us full and regular, and antioxidants that can stave off diseases.
Spinach can be eaten raw in salads or sandwiches, added to smoothies, or sautéed with a little olive oil. Chopped spinach can be added to entrées near the end of the cooking process for extra color and nutrition. Or, simply add a bed of spinach underneath your favorite entrée.
About 15 years ago, everyone staged a war against fat. Fat was Enemy No. 1. But in actuality, fat is extremely important for us as athletes. Fat is needed in the body to regulate hormones and also helps fuel the body. While carbohydrates provide the majority of energy needed for low-intensity exercise, fats are used for energy during longer or higher-intensity workouts. Fats also play a key role in recovery, as they fight inflammation. Plus, avocados are delicious.
Avocado can be added to most meals as a topper, or whipped up into guacamole. And shocker, try adding half of an avocado into your favorite smoothie recipe. It provides a luscious creaminess.
Got a great recipe using any of these super foods? Share in the comments! 🙂
Beth Roessner is a one-time couch potato turned avid runner, triathlete and wellness warrior. Through her business, The Rungry Health Coach, she works with adults around the country to help them reach all of their wellness and running goals–from weight loss to boosting a runner’s mental game. She firmly believes that overall wellness is about small changes that help create sustainable habits. Beth lives in Washington DC, where she enjoys morning runs around the monuments, and eating a lot of vegetables.