These Foods Will Make You a Better Runner
October 20, 2017
At Landice we provide you with the tools, such as our L7 Treadmills, E7 Ellipticals and upright and recumbent bikes, to help you reach your health goals. But there's another important component to your workout - FOOD.
Food is fuel. And the right fuel in the engine makes all the difference, even if you have a world-class treadmill.
We know the bad fuels to stay away from like diet sodas, candy and fried foods, but knowing the right fuels to burn can be a daunting choice and one that may affect each of us differently.
The good foods will be healthy choices that give us what we need as runners – increased energy, improved performance and ability to help us with post workout recovery.
Here are some healthy fuel options that have been shown to provide the positive benefits we seek as runners. If anything, this menu will offer you some food for thought . . .
Oatmeal in particular is a powerhouse food. It lowers cholesterol, eases constipation, helps control blood sugar, reduces the risk of colon cancer and improves heart health. In addition, it is a great source of high-quality carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. Not only does it help your insides but in a gel form it can help many skin conditions such as eczema and allergic reactions.
And if you’re not an oatmeal fan, you can add oats to many other baked goods and obtain the same benefits.
Yogurt contains calcium for bone health and protein for muscle recovery, as well as other body-boosting nutrients. It also has good-for-your-gut probiotics that ease gastrointestinal discomfort and boost immunity.
Keep an eye out for excessive added sugar. You can get plain yogurt and sweeten at home with healthier alternatives and vanilla extract. Plain yogurt also makes a great substitute for sour cream. Try adding yogurt to your oatmeal or use it in smoothies and shakes.
Many of us may remember chia seeds as those crazy plants that grew like hair out of terracotta figurines. These tiny little super seeds are loaded with body-loving nutrition. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, fiber, calcium, protein and quality carbs. Consequently these super specks can do wonders for your energy levels, helping you power through your day, as well as your sweat session.
But how exactly do you eat them? One popular method is to put them in water and drink them. They’re pretty much tasteless, but they “gel up” in liquid, which can make for an unpleasant slimy sensation. Fortunately, there are more palatable ways! You can make chia pudding, add to baked goods, mix into your oatmeal, sprinkle on a salad, add to smoothies or stir into yogurt.
If there were ever a mascot food for runners, the banana would be it. These golden potassium sticks are packed with everything a runner needs. Bananas are rich in potassium for optimal muscle function and cramp prevention.They are a prime source of easily digestible carbohydrates to power your run. They even contain probiotics for enhanced nutrient absorption. Plus, they’re inexpensive, portable and delicious!
Don’t like bananas on their own? Try using in smoothies, spreading slices with peanut butter, slicing onto oatmeal or cereal, or making banana bread.
There is so much green goodness packed into this powerhouse! You may know that avocados provide a good dose of healthy monounsaturated fats. They are also chock full of 20 vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for skin and eye health, immune function, cancer prevention and more. They even have more potassium than bananas for an electrolyte boost and cramp prevention. But did you know they can also reduce muscle and joint soreness? Avocados pack powerful anti-inflammatory properties strong enough to ease arthritis symptoms. These same effects can help your body recover after a hard workout.
Coffee sometimes gets a bad rap but it is loaded with antioxidants. It is also proven to have protective effects against diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, stroke, various cancers and more. Of course there are the obvious energy effects. A fresh cup of joe in the morning is how most of America gets anything done. For runners, a jolt of java is the perfect pre-workout boost that allows you to go harder, faster and longer. The dose of caffeine is clinically proven to improve athletic performance — especially helpful for particularly tough workouts or on race day. Additionally, coffee helps reduce post-workout muscle soreness.
Just try to keep your java pure. Sugar, creamers and other chemical additives are what can do the real damage and turn your drink into an ice cream shop float.
Four cups per day is what is recommended for maximum performance-boosting benefits. Pick an amount that works for and doesn’t turn you into a shaking leaf.
Coconut has been recently touted for many benefits. Although there has been controversy over coconut fat, which is mostly saturated, it’s a different kind of saturated (medium-chain fatty acids) that is metabolized differently by the body. It actually can help you burn fat more efficiently and increase your metabolism. Coconut oil also helps fight infection, boost brain function, improve cholesterol levels and even treat neurological disorders. Of particular interest to runners, it has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties to soothe those sore muscles and joints. Bonus: Topically it works well as a moisturizer and natural sunscreen. Take note that these benefits have been found with pure organic virgin coconut oil, not the refined and processed kind, so read the label before you buy.
Coconut oil is not meant to be eaten by the spoonful, but you can certainly add it to baked goods or use it as cooking oil.
Each of these food choices is a personal choice. Experiment with the intake of these foods and see how you feel — in general and in your running life. It’s easy to include some or all of these items in your daily regimen. Let us know which ones worked for you or if you have ideas for other healthy options for runners.
And combining these foods with one of the best treadmills, ellipticals or bikes on the market will help you reach your fitness and health goals. Go workout!