Running burns a lot of calories. And if you happen to overdo it, you are actually putting your body in a great deal of stress. It’s because of this why it is so important for a runner like you to have your body nourished.
No matter if you are planning on becoming a runner or you just stepped foot in the world of running, this article is for you. Below you will come across 10 of the most important nutrients that you should supply your body with on an everyday basis, and the good news is you can obtain them simply by having a well-balanced diet.
Because a runner like you relies on the leg muscles heavily, it’s of utmost importance for your everyday meals to consist of protein. We all know that protein is important for building and maintaining muscles. You cannot expect to be a good runner if your leg muscles are undeveloped and weak due to a diet that’s lacking in protein.
No matter your chosen form of exercise, it’s a must that you supply your body with carbohydrates. Needless to say, you cannot expect to be able to run for several miles if you fail to consume carbohydrate-rich foods. A diet that’s low in carbohydrates is something that doesn’t suit running or an active lifestyle.
There are a couple of reasons why the inclusion of healthy fat in the diet is beneficial for a runner like you. First, it helps keep your energy levels up. Second, healthy fat is essential for keeping the joints, especially the weight-bearing ones healthy and pain-free — it’s plain to see that running can be hard on the ankles, knees and hips.
Thanks to B vitamins, the food you eat can be easily converted by the body into fuel that can power up its cells. The various members of the B family of vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin and niacin also help reduce stress, and every runner can feel stressed most especially after participating in marathons.
Believe it or not, exercising causes the production of free radicals even though it is essential for optimum health. Since running can be a very strenuous form of exercise, it can yield lots and lots of free radicals. To neutralize them, make sure that you consume foods that are rich in vitamin C, which also boosts your immune system.
There is another nutrient that helps neutralize excess free radicals in the body, and that’s zinc. Actually, zinc is an antioxidant, and not too many people are aware of it. Needless to say, consuming enough zinc-containing foods helps shield your cells and tissues from unnecessary free radical damage.
Your muscles need electrolytes for their proper functioning. Without them, your muscles can easily feel fatigued and become prone to cramping. One of the electrolytes your muscles need is potassium, a mineral that’s also important for regulating the blood pressure and rhythm of the heart.
Another mineral that doubles as an electrolyte is magnesium. But aside from helping to keep the muscles functioning optimally, this nutrient also does so many other tasks. Experts say that magnesium is a role player in energy generation, protein synthesis, stress reduction and bone strengthening.
Speaking of bone strengthening, it’s very important for a runner like you to have strong bones. We all know that calcium is one of the key nutrients for having the bones strengthened. By the way, calcium is also an electrolyte just like potassium and magnesium, so make sure that your meals contain foods that are rich in calcium.
Last but not least, make sure that your everyday diet includes foods that are rich in iron. This mineral helps ensure that your blood is capable of transporting oxygen from your lungs to the various cells of the body. If your blood is incapable of carrying oxygen effectively, your muscles can get fatigued rather easily each time you run.