If you’re a runner, you are probably always on the lookout for the best means to tweak your performance for optimum results. One of the best ways to do this is through a well planned and monitored diet. Your diet plays an integral role in your performance levels. Based on what you eat, your performance levels could go up or down. Some foods simply produce digestive issues which hamper performance, while others are hard to digest making them a not so reliable source of energy.
When it comes to fruits, fruits are some of the best foods to consume for runners, especially before a run. They contain essential nutrients including vitamins and minerals and are easily digested by the body. Most fruits undergo a slow digestion process whereby the energy that is released from these fruits are made available to the body in a slow and steady manner. This allows you the runner to maintain energy levels for a longer period of time and thereby improves performance.
When it comes to fruits, some fruits simply contain a better nutrient profile than others. Some fruits help to greatly improve performance while others not so much. Fruits get bad press due to the fact that they contain sugars. Many people are under the impression that eating fruits could cause you to gain weight and bring about a host of negative attributes. This is a complete misconception. Though fruits contain sugars, these are natural sugars that are readily burnt in the body to produce energy. They aren’t stored as fat and is also bundled with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Hence, it is in no way the same as processed sugar.
The sugars in fruits act as a quick energy source for your working muscles and helps you boost performance. With all the good things that fruits bring to the table for athletes, we thought it would be helpful for runners to have a list of the best fruits they can include in their diets to help boost performance.
Hence, without further adieu, let’s dive in and explore the various benefits of the 10 best fruits for runners.
Bananas are on the top of the list for the sole reason that they contain helpful doses of potassium. When you incorporate bananas into your pre-run meal, you provide the body with a reliable source of potassium. Now why is potassium so important?
Potassium is the mineral in the body that prevent muscle cramps during high-intensity training. When there is insufficient potassium in the body, you tend to suffer from cramps which can have a disastrous effect on performance. Needless to say, you would be stopped on your tracks if you suffer from a cramp and will have no way of completing the event.
Hence, when it comes to long distance runners, potassium as found in bananas are very important to ensure optimum performance. Further to the potassium content, bananas are a high-carb energy booster that provides the body with a good dose of energy that will help you build your stamina.
When you train or exercise, you tend to lose many minerals through sweat. Bananas are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, which helps maintain a reserve of minerals and works to replenish them when consumed after an event.
Bananas work great as a component of your pre-run meal. It similarly works really well in a post-run meal. If you are partaking in a marathon or a long-distance event and would like to ensure that you prevent cramps, keeping a banana handy could help you do just that.
Avocado is a yummy fruit that is enjoyed by many athletes for its creamy goodness. You don’t have to consume a lot of this fruit, a small amount goes a long way (1/2 an avocado). It contains essential antioxidants and healthy fats that enables the easy absorption of nutrients in the body. It also contains helpful doses of fibre, which is great for the digestive tract.
The nutrients in avocado help runners feel full and satisfied, enabling them to stay focused through the event.
Though avocados get some bad press for containing fats, what is important to understand is that the fats in avocados are actually known as healthy, good fats. These are fats that your body needs. Avocados contain omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats that provide the body with fuel. They help the absorption of nutrients and works to strengthen muscle. This is why we see many weight lifters and bodybuilding including avocadoes in their diet.
When it comes to runners, the fat content and the calorie content of avocados provide as ample fuel to burn during the event, thereby allowing you to maintain good energy levels and perform for a longer period of time. This becomes espeically beneficial for long-distance runners.
Avocados are a great source of vitamins K and C which provides energy and immunity support. They also contain B vitamins that have been known to ward off fatigue which is especially important for runners. They also contain good amounts of potassium and folate.
Immunity is just as important for performance as performance itself. An illness could cause havoc on training causing you to rest and recover for weeks. This could have disaterous effects on your levels of performance. Hence, it is important that you do whatever you can do to ensure good immunity, thereby keeping illnesses at bay.
Pomegranates are rich in quality antioxidants that help to support a healthy immune system. Coupled with this, the nutrients in pomegranates help to support a healthy heart and strong muscles.
Consuming pomegranates will help you maintain better cardiovascular health, which will enable better blood flow. This will enable the better circulation of blood to your muscles, allowing your muscles to work more efficiently.
Pomegranates are also a reliable source of potassium, which helps to fight off fatigue and cramps. It contains a healthy dose of healthy sugars, which work as a great energy source for runners who are looking to train for many hours at a stretch.
Citrus has great nutritional value and is filled with vitamin C which supports immune health. As mentioned, immune health is important for runners to fight off illnesses.
Running is a strenuous activity that involves a lot of muscles. The muscles are worked and overworked to the point that they risk injury. Vitamin C as found in oranges are especially important for your muscles for they allow them to heal much faster.
Runners are also at the risk of suffering from anaemia, which is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body’s tissues and muscles. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron in the gut. Iron is primarily responsible for the formation of red blood cells and will work to prevent anemia.
As you can see, drinking some orange juice in the morning could have various impacts on your performance. It is the fact that it is a reliable vitamin C source that makes it so valuable for runners. Other citrus fruits such as grapefruits, lemons and tangerines all contain good doses of vitamin C and can be a equally useful for runners.
Blueberries much like some other berries are loaded with antioxidants. As a result of this, blueberries form a crucial part of a healthy runner’s diet. Antioxidants help fight the effects of free radicals in the body that cause illness, infection and premature ageing.
They are also a reliable source of phytonutrients that offer various anti-inflammatory benefits. They help to soothe inflammation caused by exercise and helps relieve joint pains and makes joints stronger.
Blueberries also contain a healthy dose of vitamin C, which is important for immune health and contains manganese which is an important mineral that helps convert nutrients into energy.
Blueberries have much to benefit runners and aren’t hard to incorporate into the diet. They can be added to smoothies or on top of yoghurt. You can even make blueberry jam and spread it over toast. Whichever way you choose to consume blueberries, adding them to the diet will help you excel and improve performance.
Pineapple is best consumed a few hours before a run. This is because they are a reliable source of vitamin B1 which helps regulate lactic acid and helps to improve performance. It also contains a helpful dose of vitamin C which helps the lungs combat oxidative stress.
This means pineapples will help your muscles function for longer without muscle exhaustion and will enable better oxygen delivery to muscles by way to improved lung performance.
Pineapples also contain a healthy dose of magnesium which helps to regulate heat in the body. This is why consuming pineapples a few hours before a run helps improve performance levels, for it allows your body to stay cool.
You can enjoy a few slices of pineapple about two hours before a run to gain all the benefits of the fruit. Or, you could even blend it up into a smoothie and enjoy it alongside other fruits and vegetables.
Strawberries are high in fibre, which is especially important for digestive health. When consumed before a run, it will provide a feeling of fullness and will also bring with it better digestion, preventing digestive issues from hampering performance such as gas and bloating.
Strawberries are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals all of which help support various aspects of health. The antioxidants help with the absorption of key nutrients in the gut including protein and iron. Protein is important for the better management of muscles, while iron allows for better red blood cell count enabling better oxygen delivery to muscles and tissues.
Strawberries also contain an antioxidant compound called anthocyanins which help reduce inflammation and helps counteract muscle damage from exercise. As a result of this, strawberries are the perfect fruit to include in your post-run meals and will aid with faster muscle recovery.
Sleep is an important component of performance. Training and diet are not the only things that help you perform better. Good sleep and good rest are too integral components of the equation of success.
This fuzzy exoctic fruit is actually a great selection which is comes to getting better sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, eating some kiwi before bed could greatly improve your ability to fall asleep and will even work to improve the quality of sleep. Kiwi helps to boost serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a compound that regualtes the sleep cycle.
The better rested you are, the more likely you would be able to perform better or even train better. Good rest is as important of a part of performance as performance itself. Hence, don’t underestimate the value of kiwi. Include them in your dinner meal plan and enjoy better sleep. This will help you feel better rested, allowing you to spring into action the next day.
9. Dried Figs
Though diary is an important part of bone health, it isn’t the only thing that you should be consuming for healthy bones. Figs are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin K which both help improve the strength of bones.
Vitamin K helps in the holding of calcium in the bones, allowing for calcium to increase the strength of bones.
They are also a good source of potassium which will work to prevent cramps from hampering performance.
The minerals in dried figs help to improve bone density and can work to improve the health of bones which will prevent many running injuries from hampering performance. The stronger your bones, the stronger you are and the less likely you will suffer from injury.
Eating dried figs can improve bone health and reduce bone turnover thereby ensuring a healthier skeletal system.
Dehydration can be disastrous for runners and can lead to energy loss and fatigue. It can impact various aspects of brain functioning such as motor skills and hand eye coordination.
Hydration is very important when you are running. Dehydration can cause you to reach your breaking point sooner, causing you to break down during long training sessions or events. For instance, if you are running a marathon, having the proper levels of hydration is integral in the success that you may see.
Eating cantaloupe before an event or training provides the body with a good amount of hydration. This is different from simply drinking water. Cantaloupe is slowly digested in the body which causes the slow absorption of water in the gut. This means, you would have a steady supply of water in the body, thereby keeping you hydrated for a longer period of time.
This slow and steady supply of water will prevent dehydration from lurking in and ruining progress and will work to keep you the runner well supplied with water and well-nourished during the event or training session.
Fruits are a great way to ensure that you find a competitive edge as a runner. Your diet plays an integral role in the success that you may see and fruits within your diet are a crucial part of wellbeing.
All runners should look to fruits to fuel their bodies. Now that you are aware of the best fruits that you can consume to increase performance levels, you should include them in your diet and add them to your regimen. Surely enough, you would start noticing improvements in performance. Your stamina will slowly start to improve and you will also notice better recovery from training.
You should seek to incorporate all these 10 fruits into your daily diet for the best results. Remember, the more of the good stuff you eat, the better your body will be trained to perform at opimum levels.
We hope you found this article useful and that reading this word to word has helped you better understand what fruits you should be eating to help improve athletic performance as a runner.