Perseverance.  Focus.  Endurance.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, (2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.)
        Hebrews 12:1-2
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Blog Archives - 2012
Top Foods for Runners A-Z

Hey ya'll! Haven't blogged in a while, due to a few technical difficulties and a week down south in New Orleans (I'll blog about that later). Are you a serious runner? If so, are you serious about your diet? For instance, do you still have that doughnut for dessert at lunch? Or maybe it's that Dr. Pepper you just can't give up? Well if your diet is still lacking the essentials that your body needs, then advancing to becoming a better, faster, more efficient runner is quite out of reach. I'm gonna give you a nice long list of foods that all runners should be including in their diets. Don't worry, I know you're probably thinking how I'm going to have you taking wheat grass shots and drinking egg whites and chewing on cardboard for bread, but that's not the case. So relax. Not only do these foods help with your performance, but they're also low-fat, which help with that waistline, and also lower your risk of heart disease, cholesterol, and cancer. Not to mention how incredibly easy these are to prepare. So here goes:

Almonds: These babies are loaded with Vitamin E, which help to reduce muscle damage and fend off age-related diseases. They're a fabulous source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which is basically one of the best fats to have in your diet. They also supply a good amount of protein, which helps to keep you full and last longer during your runs!

Bananas: The notorious 'telephone fruit' actually has a use other than to entertain your children while talking to a banana. They're full of carbohydrates, perfect for both a pre AND post run snack. It's also got potassium, important for all functions of cells,  along with a dose of Vitamin B.

Beans: This is the best source of protein, iron, AND soluble fiber for (drumroll please) vegetarians!! So if you're a vegetarian and don't eat beans, then start now, Lord knows you need 'em. They're good for any diet really. They're high in both carbohydrates and folic acid, fighting birth defects and heart disease.

Broccoli: Vitamin C is prominent in this tree-like veggie, which plays a big part in reducing damaged muscles induced by exercise. It also has Vitamin K which is great for building strong bones that withstand the impact of running and cancer-fighting phytochemicals!

Brown Rice: This is a much healthier AND natural alternative to bleached, enriched white rice. Brown rice is a powerful, long-lasting carbohydrate, making it perfect for a runner, without giving you the too full, sluggish feeling you sometimes get after consuming a lot of carbs. It also contains quite a wealth of antioxidants, something you won't find in the conventional white rice you're used to.

Canola Oil: This is an awesome source of monounsaturated fat AND omega-3 fatty acids, which lower your risk of heart disease. In order for your running to be the best it can, any runner should get about 30 percent of their calories from fat. Uber important!

Flax: Flaxseed is incredibly rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is a fat that helps boost immunity, bloodflow, and even endurance! (talk about a superfood) The platlets in your blood also benefit from this since flax helps keep them from clumping together and forming dangerous clots. Flaxseed oil is the best way to take this.

Ginger: Ginger not only does a great job of settling an upset stomach, it also acts as a natural inflammatory by reducing joint and muscle pain. It also aids in thinning the blood, preventing heart attacks.

Peanut Butter: Ah yes, my favorite food. And you'll soon see why. It's a great source of Vitamin E, (found in most nuts) which might I add is by far the most powerful antioxidant. The fats in peanut butter are both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which, just as a reminder, are the healthy fats. PB also packs some protein, along with that healthy fat and a little dose of carbohydrates. Keep in mind that although healthy when it's natural, there are companies like Jiff, Skippy, and Peter Pan that tend to add other unnecessary oils like cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil...please please please avoid that! PB also contains quite a lot of calories, so eat in moderation!

Salmon: High in omega-3 fatty acids, boosting immune system and cutting the risk of heart disease, salmon is a superfood at best. It's packed with protein, vitamin B, and calcium. Try to eat salmon at least once a week, it has so many important vitamins and minerals your body needs!

Spinach: Popeye was right, spinach is the HEALTHIEST food there is. And yes, it certainly helps you to build that muscle of yours. Where do I start, spinach is high in carotene, calcium, iron, and many, many others. The carotenes ward off those pesky age-related diseases, (we're definitely not getting any younger, regardless of what we say) and the calcium keeps your (increasingly brittle) bones strong. The iron that it packs in keeps your energy levels high so you can last longer.

Strawberries: These delicious fruits are high in beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and folate. As if that's not enough, they're loaded with ellagic acid, which is actually an extremely powerful antioxidant that prevents the growth of tumors. Not only are they sweet, they're healthy! Shocker..

Sweet Potatoes: These hold a healthy amount of carbohydrates, without the overwhelming starch in regular potatoes. They also contain fiber and carotenes, which prevent cancer.

Sweet Red Peppers: NOT the spicy kind. While those speed up the metabolism, running on a spicy pallet is so not the best idea in the world. These milder, sweeter peppers have a huge load of Vitamin C. They're also packed with carotenes, so eat up, if you haven't tried them, they have an interestingly sweet tang to them. I eat them raw myself.

Tofu: You probably saw that one coming, but hey, don't be so skeptical! Tofu can be delicious, or disgusting, it all depends on how you have it. Tofu is the best non-meat protein source--a dream for vegetarians. It also supplies you with a good dose of calcium and B Vitamins. I suggest it in pasta sauces or stir fry dishes, as long as they're a little crispy on the outside after a quick fry, they're tasty!

Whole Grains
: Eat them. Do it. I dare you. Whole grains are essential and incredibly healthy. High in good carbs, packed with Vitamin B and also fortified with iron, this is a great addition to a runner's diet. Oatmeal, bread, rice, tortillas, and cereal all come in whole-grain forms.

Greek Yogurt
: This is a fantastic source of carbohydrates--fueling your muscles. It also contains a significant amount of protein and calcium, with huge emphasis on the protein. I usually get the nonfat kind, it's easier on my stomach before a run.

I hope this was helpful to you, because as a runner, the diet is just as important as the training. If you want to be a successful runner, try incorporating some of these foods into your diet. Who knows? Maybe you'll actually enjoy 'em...and think of all the health benefits, it's really the best of both worlds.

Happy Eating!

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