5 Superfoods for runners
So you have started running, but are not really following any diet plan? Running makes you lose a lot of calories, but there is also constant strain on your muscles, bones and joints. There are many diet plans out there, but here are five food items that you should embrace if are a serious runner.
A small helping of almonds—about 20 almonds—should be consumed three to five times a week. Not only is it a healthy snack which helps keep hunger at bay, it is also a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. It keeps the LDL cholesterol levels low, thereby reducing chances of heart diseases. It also reduces muscle damage and helps keep bones strong among other things. You can either eat almonds by themselves or incorporate them in your salad, bowl of cereal, among other meals.
Every time you run, you are causing minor injury to your muscle fibres that need quick recovery. Eggs being a protein powerhouse contain amino acids that assist in muscle recovery. You can either have them whole or just the egg white (for those scared of a rise in cholesterol; although studies state that when had in moderation, heart diseases can actually be kept at bay). The vitamin K in eggs is necessary for healthy bones. The dietary iron content in eggs keeps anaemia—which can cause sluggishness among runners—at bay. Eggs are also a source of choline, which helps sustain endurance and reduce post exercise inflammation.
Whole grain pasta
Pasta is a favourite with runners for their high complex carbohydrate content, which is easily digestible. Carbohydrates are stored in your muscles as glycogen that ultimately acts as a fuel when you are running. Unlike simple carbohydrates that provide short energy bursts which wear off quickly, the complex carbohydrates in pasta are absorbed slowly in your system giving you a steady supply of energy. Whole grain pasta is preferred over white/refined pasta as it contains more fibre and vitamin B, which is significant for energy metabolism.
Bananas serve a dual purpose for runners. A single banana contains more than 30g of carbohydrates, 1g protein and a little fat that gives you plenty of energy before running and helps restore energy after a run. Bananas are also an important source of potassium. While running, skeletal muscles release potassium that is lost in the form of sweat. If the lost potassium is not refilled, it can lead to muscle cramps and irregular heartbeats. Potassium is necessary for fluid balance and regulation of nerve impulses in the body. A single banana contains around 400mg of potassium, which is essential for someone having a 2,000 calorie daily diet. Apart from this, bananas also have magnesium, which is necessary to maintain healthy bones.
Yogurt or dahi packs in a lot of essential nutrients and some bacteria as well. Good bacteria, of course. Yogurt contains probiotic bacteria that aid in digestion and keep constipation and stomach-related issues at bay. The calcium content in a cup of yogurt (450mg) is more than a cup of milk (300mg), which is great for bone building. The potassium content helps replace important electrolytes lost in the form of sweat. Ideally, low-fat yogurt should be consumed plain, but you can mix it with fruits or add it to a salad too. You can also add a little sugar if you wish to.