What is a Superfood?
When focusing on running and performing at a high level, fuelling alone is not enough. We need to think further than getting the right amount of food, we also need to pay attention to what those foods are and how they are helping optimize or bodies and our running performance. Superfoods are an excellent way to receive loads of nutrients whilst also being tasty and easy to incorporate into your diet.
A superfood is a food which is very nutrient dense, known to allow many health benefits if consumed regularly. Crucial for athletes who focus on endurance and power. Superfoods are able to provide quick muscle recovery and maintain energy.
Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria, often referred to as blue-green algae, making it one of the most nutrient dense superfoods on the earth. The antioxidant properties mean you can be protected against oxidative damage, a major contributor to muscle fatigue, while helping your muscles recover faster after racing or training. This green powder is packed with protein, offering four grams of protein in just one teaspoon serving of spirulina, as well as being highly digestible. In addition, spirulina is a great source of iodine; a mineral that is essential for healthy thyroid function. Optimum thyroid function is essential for runners as it helps regulate your energy and metabolism. Spirulina can be added to a fruit and vegetable filled smoothie or a just glass of water. The smoothie option is recommended, due to its interesting, earthy taste!
Cyanobacteria: A group of photosynthetic bacteria that live in a variety of soils and water.
Cherries are the key to recovery after strenuous exercise. They are extremely nutrient rich containing natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to help recover your muscles and remove oxidative by-products after your workout. Research has shown that runners who drank cherry juice twice a day for seven days a week had noticeably less muscle pain, following a long-distance run. This means you can stay healthy and perform at your best without the constant worry of muscle pain. Try drinking cherry juice after your runs and see if you can notice a change in your recovery!
Broccoli is a popular superfood which can be added to your meals with minimal stress and maximum benefits. Packed with fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C and iron, there is no doubt broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables. Broccoli is also a great source of calcium, allowing your bones to stay strong for physical activity and control your blood pressure. All vegetables from the cruciferous family such as cauliflower, cabbage and kale should be incorporated into your meals as much as possible, to give you all the nutrients you need to maintain energy as a runner.
Filled with fibre, calcium, iron, protein, omega-3 and antioxidants, chia seeds should definitely be on your shopping list. Chia seeds have hydrophilic properties where the seed can absorb more than twelve times their weight in water. The easiest way to incorporate chia seeds into your diet is to mix them in your water, the water will be absorbed by the seeds allowing you to stay hydrated for longer while running, or post workout. Their main property is to help retain moisture and regulate your body’s absorption of nutrients, so you are receiving all the goodness you need to function as a runner.
Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene, this functions as a strong antioxidant and a rich source of vitamin A. These nutrients are important for your immune system, vision, skin, bones, and reproductive health. Due to their high vitamin and mineral content, they are perfect for runners who are constantly training. It is common for runners to lack many minerals such as potassium, iron, manganese, and copper. Sweet potatoes provide these essential minerals especially manganese and copper, two components needed for healthy muscle function. This vegetable can be easily added alongside any protein source of your choice for a great post workout meal!