THE 13 BEST FOODS FOR RUNNERS
NO.3 EAT MORE FAT
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.
AND DON’T FORGET!
* 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 takealot.com.