Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 Must Have Foods for Runners!

While there isn't a specific diet runners should eat, there are some great foods they should make sure they have in their diet. The list below is not a complete list, but it does provide 10 foods that runners (actually anyone) should be including in their diet to help provide the vital nutrients needed to sustain their energy levels and provide for proper tissue repair.

1. Almonds—Almonds provide about 50% of the vitamin E, 8% of the calcium, and 19% of the magnesium needed each day. Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage. Vitamin E contributes to a healthy circulatory system and aids in proper blood clotting and improves wound healing. Magnesium is important for muscle building. Nuts also help fight obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, wrinkles, cancer, and high blood pressure.
2. Oranges—Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C. One large orange contains about 163% of you recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. They're also a great source of carbs and dietary fiber (a large orange provides 4g of fiber). Vitamin C is needed for maintaining the strength of tendons and ligaments and is also essential for the adrenaline synthesis (a hormone crucial for intense training). Vitamin C also serves as a key immune system nutrient and a potent free-radical fighter.
3. Sweet potatoes—Sweet potatoes are high in complex carbohydrates. They also contain naturally occurring sugars, protein, vitamins A, Vitamin C, iron, and calcium. The Center for Science in the Public Interest even ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables.
4. Beans—Beans, beans, any kind of beans! Beans such as black beans, pinto, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans (just to name a few) are rich in carbohydrates and a wealth of other nutrients. For example, a 1/2 cup of black beans contains 25g of carbs, 7 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fiber.
5. Greens—Dark green vegetables are packed with a ton of nutrients. Spinach, broccoli, Kale—the darker the better. Don't forget the salad greens too (radicchio, butter leaf, curly endive, and mache)! A cup of chopped kale for example, has 2g of protein and is a great source of thiamine, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. Vitamin K is great for runners. It helps protect bones and it may even play a part in helping to protect us from inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
6. Tuna—Endurance athletes need 1.8 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. That's a lot of protein! Tuna is packed with protein and perfect to help repair muscles after a workout. The protein found in tuna (as well as other fish) is a complete protein meaning it contains all the essential amino acids required by the body for growth and maintenance of lean muscle tissue. One can of light tuna (packed in water) contains 42 grams of protein!
7. Eggs—Eggs have been "In" and they have been "Out." The truth is that eggs are a great food to have in your diet, but just like anything, there's good and bad to it. The bad would be the cholesterol. But eaten in moderation, eggs can play an important part of your running diet. Like tuna, eggs are a complete protein, packing in all the essential amino acids your body needs. It's also a great source of protein (1 large egg has 6g). Eggs are also a great source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Phosphorus, and a very good source Selenium.
8. Greek Yogurt—Actually any type of lowfat yogurt will do, but Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium. A cup of plain lowfat yogurt has 13g of protein. A cup of Greek yogurt packs about 23g of protein! Both are great sources of riboflavin, Vitamin B12, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Because Greek yogurt is think it's great to use as a substitute for sour cream in baked potatoes too!
9. Berries—Blueberries are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene. They're also packed with minerals such as potassium, manganese, magnesium. That's not it though, blueberries are high in fiber and low in saturate fat, cholesterol and sodium. Probably best of all, however, is that blueberries are high in antioxidants which help prevent cancer-causing cell damage. They also help boost the immune system, keeping you healthier.
10. Pasta—Of course no list of runner foods would be complete without pasta, but let's broaden that category to "cereal grains." Now you can include other foods consisting of rice, wheat, barley, corn, and rye. When looking at products made of these grains be sure to look for 100% whole grain. This will ensure that you're eating more of a complex carbohydrate food and not a simple carb. Be careful though. Sometimes a package will say "Made with whole grains." If that's the case look at the ingredient list and see where "whole grains" is listed. If it's not one of the top two ingredients, then it probably contains very little whole grain. There are several good whole grain pasta options available now too. So be a savvy shopper and check out all the great whole grain options available.

30 comments:

southofthecliff said...

Oh, but haven't you heard? Walnuts are the new almond.

Gotta keep up with the times, man!

RunnerDude said...

Hi southofthecliff! Yep, Walnuts are good, but remember it's not an all or nothing thing. There's definintley room form almonds and walnuts in your diet. The list is just a recommended list of good foods to include in your diet as a runner. It's not a list of the only foods to include in your diet.

southofthecliff said...

I don't know... my life is nuts enough as it is...

Kenley said...

Cant get enough of those beans. My wife makes Mung Bean soup and that gives me lots of energy. I also love those 100 calorie packs of emerald cocoa powdered almonds. My favorite snack is trail mix with raspberries. Thanks for the 10 foods list dude. (just cant have beans before I go to the gym, especially if I'm doing stomach exercises) Well, keep up the great posts. Keep Running

Ian Clements said...

Alas, nothing prevents cancer; some things perhaps delay it or ameliorate it.

I took blueberries for years, drank green tea, jogged - and I, like many others, still got cancer.

I think/hope that jogging, green tea, etc will help delay/stop/reverse the cancer.

But as of now, we know of nothing that will definitely prevent cancer or treat it, only that somethings will improve the odds of not getting it or surviving it.

Zoë said...

I sighed with relief that I eat most of the things on this list...minus tuna because I can't eat seafood (ick!). Almonds are so amazing and portable. And lately I've been putting raw spinach on my turkey sandwiches from home (or Subway) instead of the iceburg/romaine lettuce. It's good! I'm still perfecting my best Popeye impression though...

RunnerDude said...

Oh Southoftheclif, there's always room for one more nut in the world!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Kenly! Ever tried taking Beno before eating your beans? Helps cut down on the gas! Really does work

RunnerDude said...

Hi Ian! Welcome to the blog! Yep, you are so right. No one food prevents cancer. Some have been shown to help prevent, but the key work there is "help." There are so many other factors that come into play that no matter what one does, sometimes cancer still comes into play. Fmily genetics plays a big role in that as well as environmental factors. Same thing often happens with high cholesterol levels. Some people eat exremely clean diets and still have extremely high LDL levels due to genetics. But as for runners, the foods listed in the post are great for providing energy and tissue repairing protein.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Zoe! Sounds like you eat really well! Chicken is also high in protein and lower in fat, so you don't have to eat the tuna. Those who are vegetarians, chick peas are a great source of protein that work well with pasta dishes as a meat substitute. Tofu is a good source too. Play around with your protein sources and see what works for you.

Clynton Taylor said...

Thanks for the post! Obviously, there are more than just 10 foods for runners that we should be eating, as you stated. In my top 10 I would add Chia seeds, though. They are so rich in Omega 3 and 6 and packed with other nutrients. You've got to make sure grind up the seeds (or purchase that way) or let them sit with liquid to become a gel. Otherwise the body can't digest them, like is the case with whole flax seeds. I have a few of my favorite recipes posted here: http://bit.ly/3GdZCm

Thanks again,

Clynton
@RunningQuest

onelittletrigirl said...

Minus the tuna, you just listed my favorite foods :)

Adam said...

Interesting.... What is different about greek yogurt than normal that gives it so much protein?

RunnerDude said...

Hi Clynton! Welcome to the blog! I've not tried chia seeds, but I'll definitely check them out! Thanks!!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Clynton! Welcome to the blog! I've not tried chia seeds, but I'll definitely check them out! Thanks!!

Brianna said...

Any ideas for making kale less like kale? Otherwise I like your list! :)

RunnerDude said...

Hi onelittletrigirl! I've heard from several runners for whom tuna's not a favorite. If you like it, it's a great source of protein, but there are others. If you're a fish-lover, you may wanna try wild-caught salmon instead of tuna 4 it has omega 3 anti-inflammatory properties. But Chicken's a good choice too. Lot's of veggies and nuts to choose from too for your protein sources.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Adam! Greek yogurt is made with a straining process that removes the whey(the liquid). This straining process makes it thicker, more concentrated increasing the protein content. This extra thickness and creaminess makes it great for cooking and for sauces (because it won't curdle-up when heated)as well as just eating like regular yogurt with added fruit. Greek yogurt is good for diabetics too because when the whey is strained from the yogurt it ends up with less lactose and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurts.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Brianna! LOL! Kale is an acquired taste. I like adding vinegar to mine or sometimes even adding a little artificial sweetner like nutrisweet will curb that bitter taste. Down South we like to eat our greens with a pickled relish called chow-chow. It's delicious and really curbs that bitter taste.

TheBerryGiant said...

Blueberries are an excellent superfood and even enhances memory. Keep up the great content.

RunnerDude said...

Hi BerryGiant! I love my berries! Thanks for the feedback!!

Iris said...

Greek yogurt is delicious with fruit and as a sour cream substitute. AND you don't have to pay the big bucks for that Oikos stuff that Stonyfield sells. All you need is a cheesecloth (very thin kitchen towel-type thing), a mesh strainer, and nonfat plain yogurt. Place the strainer over a bowl, line the strainer with the cheesecloth and dump in the yogurt. Let it strain for an hour or so, till it's as thick as you prefer. Voila! Greek yogurt.

You can use the whey that gets strained out in smoothies. Lots of B vitamins in there.

It's also super-easy to make yogurt, btw, and much tastier and no thickeners, gums, and stuff. But that's for another day...

RunnerDude said...

Hi Iris!! Wow! What great info! I'm going to try making my own this weekend! Thanks!

runrgrl2007 said...

Love that list, but I am all pasta'd out after last week! Hope to see you soon on the greenway. I feel like a slacker this week. Oh but I deserve the break don't I?

Kenley said...

Lol! Thanks for the beno tip. I will keep that in mind. I usually dont have that problem too much, but sometimes you just cant help it. I remedied that by changing what I eat b4. Have a good one, and great post.

Nehal said...

I loveee almonds in the morning (notice the three "e"s, lol) After my almonds, banana and whatever my main breakfast is, I'm ready to go!

I like tuna...well, I became to like to tuna due to religious reasons, etc. And pasta, if the sauce is awesome, I have no complaints.

Great list!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Nehal! That'a Awesome! I love my almonds each day too! I usually eat mine as a mid morning snack.

foodierunner said...

Hi Runnerdude, I've been away from your blog for a while for some reason - love your post today, and agree whole-heartedly with what you say - will put a link through on my recent post about nuts - http://www.gofasterfood.com/?p=460

RunnerDude said...

Hi Foodierunner! That's awesome! Thanks! Hope all is well your way!

skinny latte said...

Fabulous post! Glad to see that I eat nearly everything on the list already :) Love almonds as a morning snack..although I have been having cashews lately!

Great advice and blog, I will be back :)