Runners should know what fuel to run on for the best efficiency. Some foods make better fuel than others, so some choices are better than others naturally. When preparing for a run, these foods are the ones you should eat to pack the most punch when pounding the pavement.
1. Energy Bars
While energy bars sit lightly on the stomach, there are a few types to avoid. Energy bars that are specifically labeled for dieting purposes do not contain as many carbs, so they may not provide the energy needed for a length run. When it comes to choosing the right energy bar, you should look at items that contain more natural products. Granola is a good option, but you should be sure to stick with lighter bars that are filled with carbs as opposed to fats and additives.
Runners are at a great need for potassium in their bodies to avoid muscle cramps and an irregular heartbeat. Potassium is also an electrolyte, meaning it acts akin to sodium in the body. Therefore, it is also lost throughout sweat. Eating bananas is a great way to replenish potassium in the body as a typical one, about seven inches long, contains 422 mg, or 12 percent of the body’s daily required an amount of potassium.
Bananas also contain Vitamin B6, which is required for energy metabolism, the synthesis of hemoglobin, taking oxygen from one place to the other, and the creation of blood cells. Deficiencies of B6 causes depression, skin outbreaks, nerve issues, and a decreased immune system. A medium banana is great for replenishing B6 because a medium one contains about 22 percent of the daily required value of the vitamin.
A small bowl of oatmeal is the perfect pre-run snack because it contains carbs and fiber. It contains a total of 28 g of carbs, of which are the best kind to each because of how complex they are. Processed cereals do not perform nearly as well as oatmeal because they are less complex. There is a reason why oatmeal is a breakfast staple: it can fill a large role as the most important meal of the day. As a bonus, oatmeal is easily digested by the body, so it leaves runners feeling full and refreshed for a long period.
4. Peanut Butter
To be considered peanut butter, a product has to consist of at least 90 percent peanuts. Some common brands contain extra sugars and salt. “All-natural” brands do not add anything to their product, making for a thicker consistency. It can also separate, but it is still safe to use so long as it is mixed back together. Peanut butter has something greatly in common with oatmeal: it makes runners feel full. It also does not shoot sugar up high and then let it bottom out a little later on because of the fats, proteins, and fiber it contains. It is a slow release type of energy.
5. Wild Salmon
This type of fish is great for providing the body with essential omega-3 fatty acids. Americans are severely deficient in this type of fatty acid. It books heart health and makes blood vessels more elastic. On top of that, it helps the nervous system to function better. Therefore, wild salmon is perfect to eat before a run because of the way it treats the heart. It keeps the heart in good condition over the long term so it can perform on demand in the short term. Also, with blood vessels being more elastic, they work more efficiently at transporting much-needed oxygen throughout the body.
As with any illness the body becomes stressed by, oranges can help runners power through the stress they place on their bodies because of Vitamin C. When it comes to repairing and growing tissue in the body, Vitamin C does it better than anything else. Oranges are also full of antioxidants, which work to remove free radicals in the body. Since exercise is the body’s antioxidant system, oranges come in to help with that process. Furthermore, oranges contain iron. Iron is essential to runners for much the same reason as Vitamin C, and Vitamin C helps the body to retain more of the iron in the long run.
Many people have turned to hummus as a common weight management food because it is lower in fat content while containing a great deal of protein. It is a miracle food for runners who are vegetarian or vegan because of this very fact. It provides the body with a full sensation and limits the number of fats burned during runner, thus preventing that burnout effect part of the way through or at the end of a run. As with other foods that have protein or complex carbs, it also works to leave the body feeling fuller for longer.
When it comes to leafy, green vegetables, kale is without a doubt a staple choice. It contains many Vitamins, includes C and K (also known as potassium!). It also contains fiber, beta-carotene, iron, and antioxidants. In many ways, kale is the best pre-run snack because it hosts so many other features that many items on this list offer – put in one location.
Making sure to pick the right foods for a pre-run snack or meal is essential to performing well throughout the entire run. These foods will yield the best results and prevent you from bottoming out during or after the run. They can also help with oxygen circulation during the run and tissue repair afterward. Try some today!