Runners are a special breed of exercise enthusiasts. They need bursts of energy to help them complete a race. They also need to build endurance to be able to run for a longer period of time. A quick energy drink before a sprint can provide the required energy to complete the race, but adequate nutrition is required to build endurance and help the muscles recover faster.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of six foods that can help runners in very specific ways.
Salmon is not a runner’s first choice for protein. This, because it’s slightly higher in fat than its aquatic counterparts. However, salmon has two components that are hard to beat- omega 3 fats and minerals.
Omega 3 fats are extremely essential for heart health, and fish like salmon are an excellent source of these healthy fats. Runners put a lot of pressure on their hearts, and supporting it with omega 3 fats is necessary.1
Salmon also has several minerals like potassium, selenium, etc. which are needed for good muscle health. These minerals help keep all organ systems healthy. Potassium is required for blood pressure regulation.
Muscle damage is a very serious concern in professional athletes. Marathon runners often face the brunt of long runs in an internally hostile environment. Markers for muscle damage are significantly higher in them.
Cherry juice is just what runners need to aid muscle recovery. In studies done using control groups, runners who consumed cherry juice regularly for a few weeks before a run has significantly lower levels of muscle fatigue markers, and their recovery was much faster too.2
3. Skimmed Milk
A lot of runners think of milk as an antagonist. After all, milk is fairly heavy to digest and not the ideal pre-run drink.
However, the benefits milk offers in terms of muscle repair far outweigh this disadvantage. In fact, when it comes to muscle repair, regular milk is much better than the soy alternative.3
Considering the weight gain that regular full fat milk can cause, it may be beneficial to consume skimmed milk instead.
Looking for a pre-run snack? Try bananas! They are filled with carbohydrates needed for a successful run, and are also rich in potassium that helps regulate blood pressure.
For a complete dose of protein and carbs, you can combine bananas with a spoonful of peanut butter.4
Repairing muscle damage and providing important nutrients- almonds do it all! Almonds are rich in fats of the heart-healthy variety, so you have nothing to worry about.
They are an excellent source of minerals you might lose through sweating, such as potassium and magnesium.5
We finally have a vegetable on the list. Broccoli has abundant reserves of calcium that you need to keep those bones strong as you run. Also present is vitamin C that acts as an antioxidant, reducing the stress and fatigue muscles are subjected to.6
|↑1||Why Eating Salmon Might Be Good For You. National institutes Of Health.|
|↑2||Howatson, Glyn, M. P. McHugh, J. A. Hill, James Brouner, A. P. Jewell, Ken A. Van Someren, R. E. Shave, and S. A. Howatson. “Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running.” Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports 20, no. 6 (2010): 843-852.|
|↑3||Wilkinson, Sarah B., Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Maureen J. MacDonald, Jay R. MacDonald, David Armstrong, and Stuart M. Phillips. “Consumption of fluid skim milk promotes greater muscle protein accretion after resistance exercise than does consumption of an isonitrogenous and isoenergetic soy-protein beverage.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85, no. 4 (2007): 1031-1040.|
|↑4, ↑5, ↑6||Burfoot, Amby. Runner’s World Complete Book of Beginning Running. Rodale, 2005.|