Boosting your performance with nutritious habits has never been so easy
Our diets play a major role in overall health and athletic performance. Looking to boost your running performance? Check out these five nutrient-dense foods to incorporate into your diet.
Snack on a banana to heighten your afternoon run! Bananas are a great source of easy-to-digest carbohydrates, which is what makes them so ideal to snack on before a run or workout. Full of potassium and magnesium, a medium-sized banana contains about 105 calories, 27g of carbohydrates, and 422 mg of potassium.
Potassium is essential to muscles and muscle function, while deficiencies can contribute to muscle cramps and discomfort. Magnesium is essential for our bone health. Since running is a high impact sport, runners should consume foods high in magnesium to promote stronger bones.
Like bananas, oatmeal is high in magnesium and a great source of carbohydrates and fiber. Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that helps keep you full for longer and reduces both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. What distinguishes oatmeal from most other grains? High in fat and protein content, it is considered one of the healthiest foods as it is loaded with essential vitamin, minerals, and antioxidants.
If you have a workout planned for later in the day and don’t have time to eat before, oatmeal is great option to keep you energized until your run. Not a fan? Top it off with some of your favorite fruits, cinnamon, or nut butters (like our next suggestion) to boost the flavor.
- Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter is a great source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, and vitamin E. Peanuts contain more protein than any other nut: seven grams per two tablespoons! The combination of high protein and fiber makes peanut butter digest more slowly, keeping you energized and satisfied for longer.
Vitamin E is essential for the function of the immune system. It also works as an antioxidant that helps prevent damage to cells from free radicals, which can help muscles recover better post run. Add a tablespoon or two to your smoothie, oatmeal, toast, or even as a dip for your favorite fruit.
There is a reason many of us were encouraged to chow down on broccoli as kids. Broccoli is full of vitamin C, one of the main nutrients that promotes collagen production, a building block for tissue and bones. It also serves an antioxidant to help heal muscles or cuts and protect from free radicals.
Folate and Potassium are two other nutrients that are found in broccoli. Folate promotes the growth of new cells in the body, which is ideal in speeding up muscle recovery. This nutrient-dense vegetable is a great addition to every runner’s diet to promote over all health, and specifically to help running performance and recovery.
Like oats, beans have a low glycemic index; this means that it takes our bodies longer to digest and metabolize the carbohydrates found in these foods. Thus, energy is released steadily rather than in spikes. Beans are also great sources of protein, and high in amino acids (protein building blocks).
As a runner, carbs help fuel your workout and protein will help build and repair your muscles. Take your pick from black, garbanzo, pinto, or kidney beans to switch up your source of protein.
Affordable and nutritious, healthy eating is as easy as adding a few of these elements to your weekly meal plan! Incorporating plant-based proteins and healthy snacks like peanut butter can make a big difference in your performance. Get going!
Healthy Living is a frequently updated content section brought to you by the Saudi Sports for All Federation. In the spirit of supporting our #HealthyActiveCommunity, we’re sharing tips around wellness, physical activity and more!