Health and Nutrition for Runners




"Health and Nutrition for Runners -- Optimum Performance"


Physical exercise requires a balanced diet that includes 6 nutrients essential to health and performance. These are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins & minerals and water.

Runners, joggers and walkers alike require a diet high in carbohydrates, balanced protein and low in fats. 60 to 70 per cent of your diet should consist of carbohydrates, mostly complex carbs including grains, vegetables and fruits.

In order to obtain optimum nutrition for runners, the total fats in your diet should not be more than 20-25 per cent of your total diet. Go for fats that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol like lean meat, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy products, beans, grains and cereals.

Protein should make up 15 to 20 per cent of the recommended diet. Your body's protein needs will increase as you train more.

Extra protein fuels the body and is used for energy, to repair damaged tissues suffered during competitive and intense training.

Vitamins and minerals are important nutrition for runners especially anti-oxidants like vitamins A,C and E. They help nuetralize toxins (free radicals) that damage cells.

Stress and high-impact, competitive training produces dangerous free radicals. Some minerals that are lost with sweat are electrolytes, sodium, chloride, calcium, copper, manganese,potassium and zinc.

Sodium and chloride are lost in the greatest amount and if you start craving for salty snacks, your body is telling you to consume more sodium. Drink a sports drink (that has sodium and other minerals) and some crackers or potato chips.

Calcium are also very important mineral for joggers and runners. Apart from doing weight-bearing exercises like jogging, weight training, you also require a calcium-rich diet. Eat lots of food containing good source of calcium like eggs, milk, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, anchovies, beans and oranges.

When taking dairy products, take only low-fat ones. If you are lactose-intolerant, opt for soy or rice beverages that are calcium-fortified.

Iron is especially important for women joggers. It is helps in the production of hemoglobin in your blood cells.Hemoglobin adds the process of carrying oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and low levels will mar your performance.

Iron-deficiency causes anemia whereby the blood's ability to carry oxygen is reduced. If you have the following symptoms, you may suffer from iron-deficiency:- fatigue, headaches and behaviorial changes.

Women require twice as much iron as they are prone to anemia during menstruation. Iron-deficiency occurs twice as frequently in physically-active people compared to the general population. As such, if you are physically-active woman, you may notice feeling a little weak and tired during menstruation. See a doctor and get tested via blood works for iron-deficiency. You may be asked to increase your iron intake by taking supplements.women are twice as likely to be iron-deficient.

Naturally occurring sources of iron can be obtained in food such as lean red meat, liver, leafy green vegetables, lentils, shrimps, nuts, beans, cereals and breads. Ensure your diet includes foods high in Vitamin C to add in your body's iron absorption.




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