Running and training may be good for you, but they also stress and fatigue your body, increasing the risk of injury. That’s why it’s important to take care of your health and restore the vitality needed for improving your performance, and above all, for staying in shape!
Your diet plays a vital role in the state of your health. It influences both your physical and mental health. Discover the top 10 ways to improve your diet, to boost your body and stay on track!
Kiwi is particularly rich in vitamin C. To give you a reference, just one kiwi covers your daily vitamin C requirements. It is also the fruit with the most antioxidants. It is highly recommended for runners, particularly during recovery and periods of prolonged fatigue. Rather than filling up with vitamin supplements when you are tired and overworked, just eat two kiwis every morning.
It’s not a legend – athletes appreciate bananas for their high carbohydrate content. They help the body fight against fatigue and provide durable energy. Bananas also contain good levels of magnesium and potassium, useful to prevent light cramps. They are perfect during recovery, providing high levels of energy and compensating for potassium losses due to exertion.
3. DRIED FRUITS
Oleaginous fruits are absolutely bursting with energy. They are also an excellent source of protein, potassium, omega-3 and contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. They release energy slowly and steadily which is useful for long workouts. Always have a small handful with you for a snack: ideal for providing the fatty acids vital for restoring your equilibrium.
Acerola is a small berry, also known as the West Indian or Barbados cherry. Prevalent in South Africa, it is recognized for its high content in vitamin C, making it an excellent antioxidant. It is highly appreciated by runners because it provides energy and hence better overall condition. A course of acerola is recommended in the event of excessive training, stress or extreme fatigue. Acerola also helps the body combat infections. This small berry can be taken as a powder, pill or juice.
5. GOJI BERRIES
Where would runners be without goji berries? These small red berries are known as “super-food” due to their particularly high levels of protein, minerals and antioxidants. Runners count on goji berries because they fight against the toxic effect of free radicals which damage cells. They are readily available in shops, either dried or as juice.
6. CHIA SEEDS
Chia seeds are originally from Mexico. Rich in protein, carbohydrates, omega-3 and -6, fiber and antioxidants, they are particularly beneficial for recovery, contributing to energy reserves and muscle repair. With a delicate hazelnut flavour, they can be added to yoghurt, smoothies or a salad.
7. ROYAL JELLY
Royal jelly is produced by working bees between the 5th and 14th days of their life. It has more nutritional value than honey, which is why it’s the queen’s food, making her larger, more fertile and giving her greater longevity. The nutritional value of royal jelly is similar to that of honey but is richer in group-B vitamins, essential fatty acids, minerals and carbohydrates. It has a particular effect on the immune system. Taking a course of royal jelly before winter is beneficial for combatting against the risks to the body brought by cold weather.
Turmeric is a yellow spice, grown in China, Indonesia and India. It has many virtues, but two properties are particularly interesting for runners: it is an excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory thanks to its main pigment, curcumin. And don’t forget that a race can be traumatic for muscles and joints, causing inflammation.The addition of turmeric to the diet or as a food supplement can be beneficial before and after physical exertion. And don’t forget curry contains high quantities of turmeric.
Spirulina is a microscopic algae. It is recognised for its nutritional content, including high levels of protein, making it ideal for runners when recovering. It also contains high quantities of minerals (iron, calcium and magnesium) and trace elements (selenium, zinc, etc.) which are ideal for runners wanting to balance their diet. Many runners take spirulina which is low in calories and available as a powder, pill or liquid. It is used in some energy bars, distinguishably green, to enrich their protein value.
Cocoa is a magical ingredient for its stimulating and anti-stress effects. It contains high levels of magnesium: the best mineral for combatting stress. It is also rich in theobromine: a stimulating substance which has an effect on moods. Cocoa is the ideal ingredient during periods of intensive training, which stress the body. Choose unrefined cocoa powder or dark chocolate, in moderation because it has a high energy value.
This article was written by Marie Fauchille, dietician and nutritionist.