Nutrition is not only essential for good health, but also for running performance. If improving your diet is one of your main goals for the New Year, try adding these foods to your cart to boost your immune system, lower inflammation and support cardiovascular health to make 2022 the healthiest and best year yet.
Answering your most important nutrition questions
Beans (like chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, etc.) are a good source of plant-based protein that aids muscle recovery after running and exercising. They are also rich in fiber and magnesium, which help control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improve the health of your gut and provide disease-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants.
If you’re not used to eating beans, start with small amounts and gradually increase your servings over time, since their high fiber content can also cause some unwanted side effects (you know what they say…beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…) . Try adding just a quarter cup to your salad at lunch, or put a can of beans in some soups or stews. Also, remember, if you’re buying beans from a can, be sure to rinse them well to avoid tummy troubles.
Bone broth (also known as broth) is made by boiling bones (such as chicken, cow, or fish) in water and a little vinegar, which releases nutrients into the bone marrow to make a delicious and nutritious broth. It is rich in vitamins such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, as well as gelatin that the body can break down into collagen. According to a 2017 study, eating gelatin can help protect your joints from unnecessary stress.
Other studies have shown that bone broth can help repair the lining of your gut, ultimately improving nutrient absorption, and even improving your sleep.
Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi improve your gut health by introducing healthy bacteria into your gut microbiome. This will improve your digestion and support your immune system to prevent colds and flu so you can train without being interrupted by illness.
You’ve been told a million times that you should eat plenty of dark leafy greens. That advice still stands, but this year, consider making room in your diet for sea vegetables, such as kelp and seaweed. This green vegetable is packed with micronutrients and minerals like vitamins K and A, iodine, magnesium, folate, calcium, and more. Try making your own sushi, or adding it to soups or even salads.
The health benefits of nuts are well documented, but their “cousin” seeds tend to get stuck in their shadow. Pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds offer amazing health benefits (and tend to be less expensive than nuts), but sunflower seeds should be at the top of your shopping list. They provide a good source of protein along with plenty of fiber and antioxidants and as a bonus, they are allergy friendly. Top it on a salad, mix it in with granola or try spreading some sunflower seed butter on your morning toast.
If you’re not afraid of a little heat in your meals, consider adding chili to your dishes more often. Not only are chili peppers high in antioxidants, but they have also been shown to improve endurance performance thanks to their capsaicinoid content, the compound that gives peppers their spicy kicks.
Fish and seafood
Nutritional advice from your grandmother applies to runners
Fish and seafood are excellent sources of protein, as well as other important nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium. Fatty fish, such as salmon or sardines, also provide a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which, according to new research, can help prevent injuries. Are you looking to be a stronger, healthier runner this year? Try replacing meat with fish or seafood a few times a week.