Runner's World South Africa - - FRONT PAGE - BY HEATHER MAYER IRVINE

1. Eat All The Colours.

A rain­bow of pro­duce pro­vides all the nu­tri­ents you need. For ex­am­ple, the or­ange in vegeta­bles such as car­rots and but­ter­nut means there are high lev­els of beta-carotene, which ul­ti­mately be­comes vi­ta­min A – an im­mu­nity and eye-health booster. Bright colours also in­di­cate that the food is rich in an­tiox­i­dants, which can fight Alzheimer’s and heart dis­ease. And stud­ies sug­gest that when the pig­ments in pro­duce in­ter­act with each other, it max­imises the health ben­e­fits.

2. Choose the right carbs.

In gen­eral, run­ners should con­sume 50 to 65 per cent of their kilo­joules

in the form of car­bo­hy­drates – the higher your mileage, the higher your per­cent­age. This doesn’t mean all pasta, all the time. You’ll find qual­ity carbs in grains such as quinoa and rice, in po­ta­toes, and yes, in veg­gies. And eat whole grains, which are al­most al­ways the best choice com­pared with re­fined grains such as white four, be­cause nu­tri­tious B vi­ta­mins, iron, mag­ne­sium, se­le­nium, and fi­bre are stripped dur­ing the re­fin­ing process.

3. Be smart about fat.

In ad­di­tion to mak­ing food taste good, fats play a key role in keep­ing you healthy and boost­ing per­for­mance. Fat is chock-full of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, and when eaten along­side nu­tri­ent-rich foods (such as dark leafy greens), it ac­tu­ally helps your body ab­sorb key nu­tri­ents such as vi­ta­mins A, D, E, and K.

Avoid trans fats, which are found in pro­cessed and fried foods and can lead to heart dis­ease, stroke, type 2 di­a­betes, and weight gain. In­stead, opt for heart-healthy mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats found in oils like olive, canola, and sesame seed. Other sources in­clude av­o­ca­dos, nuts, seeds, and nut but­ters. And the omega-3 fatty acids found in wal­nuts and flaxseeds are known for their ef­fect on brain and joint health. Run­ners should aim to get 20 to 35 per cent of their daily kilo­joules from un­sat­u­rated fats.

4. Don’t skimp on pro­tein.

Pro­tein helps main­tain lean mus­cle mass and re­pair the mi­cro­scopic tears and dam­age in mus­cle tis­sue caused by hard work­outs. Stud­ies have found that run­ners who con­sume the right amount of pro­tein are less likely to get in­jured. Pro­tein is also as­so­ci­ated with a healthy im­mune sys­tem, thanks to its abil­ity to stim­u­late white blood cells. And be­cause pro­tein takes longer to di­gest than sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates, it helps you feel fuller for longer. Mix and match eggs, dairy, nuts, tofu, lentils, and beans to get the pro­tein you need.

New re­search rec­om­mends that ath­letes con­sume 1.2 to 2 grams of pro­tein per kilo­gram of body weight. Not only is that sig­nif­i­cantly more than the rec­om­men­da­tion for non­run­ners, it’s more than what was pre­vi­ously rec­om­mended for ath­letes. It’s also im­por­tant to spread out your pro­tein in­take through­out the day, con­sum­ing more right be­fore and right af­ter your work­outs.


* Vi­ta­min B12: This wa­ter-sol­u­ble vi­ta­min helps keep the nerve and blood cells healthy, make DNA, and pre­vent anaemia. Be­cause it’s not nat­u­rally found in plant foods, veg­e­tar­i­ans and ve­g­ans should load up on for­ti­fied foods such as or­ange juice, milk, breads, ce­re­als, and pas­tas. Check the la­bels to con­firm which foods are for­ti­fied.

* Iron: Run­ners, re­gard­less of di­etary pref­er­ences, are at a higher risk of de­vel­op­ing iron de­fi­ciency be­cause aer­o­bic ac­tiv­ity in­creases red blood cell count, which de­mands a higher amount of iron. Red meat and seafood have high lev­els of iron, but run­ners who don’t eat meat can in­crease their iron by con­sum­ing whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, beans, lentils, tofu, leafy greens, and dried fruit. These foods should be eaten with vi­ta­min C-rich foods to help in­crease ab­sorp­tion.

BLEND IT!A smoothie is a quick and easy way to pack in plants – fresh or frozen, as there isn’t much nu­tri­tional dif­fer­ence be­tween the two.

ABOVE Spread this Smoky Chilli Sweet Po­tato Hum­mus on sand­wiches or dip it with chips for a sat­is­fy­ing snack!

Ex­cerpted from The Run­ner’s World Vege­tar­ian Cook­book.Copy­right © 2018 by Hearst Mag­a­zines. Pub­lished by Ro­dale Books and avail­able at

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