SALMON - There’s no need to beef up to keep your running muscles in good shape. Salmon is a fantastic way of getting high biological value protein into your diet. Its form of protein is essential for the health and correct function of the connective tissue between muscle and bone that is stressed by repeated exercise. Oily fish is also the primary natural source of Omega – 3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation and swelling caused by injury or over-exercise.
GINGER - This root like spice contains polyphenols, a group of powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, one in particular called gingerol. About half a teaspoon of ginger daily can prevent and reduce joint pain, giving we runners an alternative to ibuprofen, with its customary side effects. A slice of the spice will also get your immune system moving in the right direction, which is particularly important for long distance runners. Grate it or slice for your stir-fries and salads.
BAKED BEANS - A great source of quick, convenient protein, ideal for helping recovery after long training sessions. High in phosphorus, one of the principle compounds that makes and maintains bone, so they improve general skeletal strength and help prevent fractures. The soluble fibres also help reduce your cholesterol. Do not include them with a fry-up though.
CHICKEN - Chicken protein contains amino acids in the correct proportions for creating lean muscle. It is packed with B – vitamins, essential for energy production in your cells’ power sources – the mitochondria. It will make you lighter on your feet, as the protein fires up your metabolism to help weight loss. Not the nuggets though – stick to skinless grilled breast.
SPINACH - Dark green leafy veg is a great source of vitamin A, an antioxidant that promotes strong cell membranes and mitochondria, known as the engine power house of a cell. We runners need mitochondria so that energy may be supplied for the tissues that demand it during exercise.
BANANAS - A natural and nutritious alternative to energy gels. One small banana will provide about 15g of carbohydrate as well as a healthy dose of fibre, potassium and vitamin B6. They are the ultimate convenience food, simple to eat on the run and with a biodegradable wrapper. One banana will fuel you for about 30 minutes of running.
DARK CHOCOLATE - A great excuse to indulge your chocolate habit. In fact, chocolate has a similar effect on blood sugar levels as most fruit and pasta. It gives you a sustained energy boost. Its fat content actually slows the absorption of the sugar – perfect for maintaining blood sugar levels during running. Dark chocolate also contains decent amounts of magnesium, iron and copper, as well as heart-healthy antioxidants.
BLUEBERRIES - They contain vitamin C and help to guard against upper respiratory tract infections – one of the biggest threats to your ability to run effectively. They also boost joint health by supporting the production and strength of collagen and stave off adrenal fatigue – low functioning of the adrenal glands, making you feel run down.
QUINOA - As well as being a good source of energy, it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, so it will benefit muscle strength and power. It also boasts copper and manganese – minerals that protect the mitochondria and therefore increase the overall health of your muscles.
PORRIDGE - This wholegrain carbohydrate is rich in B vitamins, which help convert proteins and sugars into energy. B vitamins also help build and repair muscle and red blood cells. Swap milk for water and add low fat yogurt which will deliver more protein, potassium and calcium. Swap sugar for strawberries, high in vitamin C and add crunch with grated almonds, a good source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats.