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To perform at your peak requires successful management of numerous aspects of your life; training, injury prevention, sleep and last but not least, diet.

A balanced diet is vital.  We all know the drill, vegetables, fruit, wholemeal bread, plenty of water etc. etc.  But what are some of those less known foods, which when taken in moderation, have huge benefits for the hard training runner. Those simple foods we all know about but maybe don’t eat enough of.

Below, 5 awesome foods are outlined.  This list is by no means extensive, and we advise all serious runners to consult with a specialist nutritionist. However, it’s fair to say by including the below foods in your diet, only good things will result.

Sources

  • World Health Organisation
  • Nutrition for Runners. By Jeff Galloway and Nancy Clark.
  • American Heart Association
  • The University of North Carolina.

Salmon

Salmon is not only incredibly tasty but has a plethora of nutritional benefits. These include:

  • An excellent source of high-quality protein, potassium, B vitamins and selenium.
  • A great source of omega-3 fats. Omega 3 fats have been shown to help fight sports induced asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and even depression.

Almonds

Eating almonds 2-4 times per week is no drag, keep a container and eat a handful at the end of every session.  Almonds have a bunch of health benefits for runners.  These include:

  • Excellent source of vitamin E (many runners are deficient in vitamin E because there are very few foods containing sufficient levels).  
  • Reduces the state of hunger that most runners are in 24/7.
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Lowers cholesterol levels and lowers blood pressure.

Oranges

It’s no secret that oranges are healthy.  But squeezing 10 oranges into juice isn’t what we mean, doing this results in way too much sugar intake.  Simply eat an orange the old-fashioned way.

Benefits of regular orange consumption include:

  • One orange contains 130% of your daily vitamin C needs.
  • According to the American Heart Association, eating higher amounts of a compound found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit may lower stroke risk for women
  • Regular consumption of oranges may also help with muscle soreness after hard workouts.  A study from the University of North Carolina Greensboro showed that taking vitamin C supplements for two weeks prior to hard physical exercise helped alleviate muscle soreness.

Eggs

Most of us eat eggs, but many of us maybe not as often as we should.

Benefits of those super cheap and yummy eggs include:

A very good source of cheap, high-quality protein. The protein in eggs contains all the crucial amino acids your muscles need to recover after intense workouts

  • Egg whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

Whole-Grain Cereals and Bread

Most of us learnt as children that whole grain is healthier, but many of us ignore the health benefits.

Benefits of wholegrain cereals and bread include:

  • A low glycaemic index meaning your energy levels remain more constant throughout the day. Very important for those of you who do morning runs as well as afternoon workouts.
  • Lower levels of sugar than non-wholegrain foods.
  • An important source of many nutrients, including fibre, B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium).
  • Reduced risk of some chronic diseases. 
  • For even more nutritional benefits, add yoghurt to your cereal.

The above foods are by no means extensive. A well-balanced diet is vital for optimal performance and all serious runners should consult with a nutritionist. However, if you rarely eat any of the above foods, then consider adding them to your diet on a regular basis; the odds are you will be better off for it.

Sources

  • World Health Organisation
  • Nutrition for Runners. By Jeff Galloway and Nancy Clark.
  • American Heart Association
  • The University of North Carolina.
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