For all those long-distance, need-for-speed, pavement-pounding runners out there, today’s blog is for you. With fall coming upon us, and hopefully some cooler weather, your weekly mileage is probably increasing, and so should your body’s reserves of essential foods to keep you in tip-top shape.
When you begin racking up those miles, your body not only increases endurance, but also the production of free radicals, which are produced naturally by our bodies. What’s more, the more you run, the more your body produces these agents that over time can slow recovery and increase your susceptibility to disease.
In order to combat these muscle-damaging radicals, there are several foods that aid in protecting your body and keeping nutrient stores full. Matthew G. Kadey, in his article “Natural Defense” for the September issue of Runner’s World, sheds some insight onto just what foods runners should be sure to incorporate into their diets.
First up, black rice, which is loaded with antioxidants that fight off those free radicals, have been shown to provide a defense against cancer and heart disease. Next, Brazil nuts contain a plentiful source of selenium that the body uses to create a “crucial antioxidant enzyme.” Kadey recommends adding Brazil nuts to salads or blending with milk and fruit for a smoothie.
Kadey’s third recommendation, egg yolks, are a primary source of lutein and zeaxanthin that combine to protect your retina and eyes. Egg yolks also contain selenium, vitamin E, high-quality protein and choline, which can help to keep your ticker healthy.
Adding lentils to your diet is said to help improve muscle recovery and decrease risk for chronic diseases. Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse that contain protein and tons of essential vitamins and minerals. A delicious way to incorporate lentils into your next meal is by replacing half the meat with cooked lentils when grilling burgers, says Kadey.
To read the full article and uncover a few more foods essential for runners, you can view Kadey’s article here. Try out some of these foods or incorporate them into recipes of your own and let us know how they turn out!