Whether you’re a keen runner or just beginning, it can be hard to know which foods are best for pre and post training nutrition. We found this great list of foods for runners on Runnersworld.com, including almonds, eggs, whole-grains and dark chocolate (yes, chocolate can be good for you!). But what’s the science behind these kind of lists?
As a runner your body is going to need more of some nutrients, for example antioxidants, protein, carbohydrate and essential fatty acids (EFAs). Antioxidants is a word that covers a multitude of different individual chemicals, but they all do a similar job – they protect our body from damage that can be caused by free radicals, an unavoidable byproduct of being alive and making and using energy. Protein is essentially what we’re made of – muscles, immune cells, skin are just a few of the body structures are protein molecules. We need protein in our diet to repair and develop the muscle we use during exercise. Carbohydrates are important for replacing all the glycogen we use up during a run – and while other nutrients can be used by the body for energy, carbs are the most effective and efficient thing for our body to use to replenish energy stores. EFAs include omega-3 fats – these are important for anti-inflammatory pathways and healthy cell membranes which can bring benefits in anything from blood pressure to muscle pain.
When you’re planning for race day
it can be important to work out what to eat in some detail. But when you’re working out what to include in your pre and post training nutrition day to day it’s easy to get caught up in all these different types of nutrients and forget the bigger picture – eating balanced meals that you enjoy! And as for the chocolate – dark chocolate does contain antioxidants, but these can be destroyed by heat so raw chocolate is the way to go if antioxidant intake is your excuse for indulgence! It makes a great raw snack which is one of the reasons we include it in Nutriboxes.
To find out how you can snack more healthily click here.