Meat-free diets can rev up your running – as long as you’re smart about essential nutrients
Stay strong and fast with a meat-free diet
PACK IN PROTEIN
This macronutrient helps you build and maintain muscle and recover better from workouts. Aim for at least 20 grams of protein at each meal from a variety of foods, such as tofu (and other soya products), beans, grains, nuts and seeds.
SEEK OUT CALCIUM
Spring greens, tofu and corn tortillas – as well as calcium-fortified drinks such as orange juice, almond milk and rice milk – are good sources of this key bone-building mineral.
DON’T FORGET D
Everyone needs vitamin D. It’s an essential nutrient linked to many health and performance outcomes, including bone and muscle health, anti-inflammation and heart health. Research has also suggested that vitamin D has the potential to optimise your athletic performance. The richest sources include dairy foods, fatty fish and eggs, so if you’re eating less of those, look for vitamin D-fortified vegan options, such as soya milk, cereal and orange juice. And mushrooms make their own vitamin D when exposed to UV light.
FORTIFY WITH VITAMIN B12
Crucial for healthy nerve function and circulation, this vitamin is found in foods that come from animals. Cultured or fermented foods that contain live bacteria, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, provide a little vitamin B12 and you can also find it in fortified cereals.
MIND YOUR MINERALS
Iron and zinc play key roles in sustaining a healthy immune system. Meats, poultry and seafood are the best sources, but even runners who eat animal products can fall short. Eat plenty of whole grains, beans, leafy greens and nuts to make sure you’re getting enough.
Phytonutrients in veg, fruit, grains and other plant products may protect cells from age-related ailments.