Posted by dave on 16th September 2012
Every time you walk into a grocery store, you face a daunting task: picking the healthiest, most nutrient-packed foods to fuel your running from thousands of choices. Supermarkets today carry an average of 38,718 items, according to the Food Marketing Institute. Colorful packaging, deceptive claims, and hidden ingredients confuse even the savviest shopper. These expert tips will help you shop smarter, so you can get in, get out, and get back to running—fast.
GOOD FOR YOU: LOTS OF COLOR
“Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants runners need to support training,” says Tara Gidus, M.S., R.D., an Orlando-based sports dietitian and marathoner. “In general, the more color in your shopping cart, the more antioxidants and nutrients you’re going to get.”
Beets Nitrates found in beets can make your muscles work more efficiently during exercise by reducing the amount of oxygen they need.
Raspberries Eight grams of fiber in a single cup. “Higher fiber foods help runners maintain a healthy body weight and digestive system,” says Gidus.
Kale Jam-packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, and vision-protecting beta-carotene. Add it to soups, saute it for a side, or add to salads and sandwiches.
Avocado Nearly 70 percent of its fat is monounsaturated, “the same kind that makes olive oil heart-healthy,” Gidus says. Half an avocado also delivers seven grams of fiber.
YELLOW AND ORANGE
Sweet potato One potato provides more than three times your daily need for immune-boosting vitamin A. ‘’It’s full of complex carbohydrates,'’ Gidus says, ‘’which helps keep your energy stores topped up.”
Mango High vitamin C intake may reduce upper-respiratory-tract infections, as well as help lower your heart rate during exercise. One cup of mango delivers 75 percent of your daily need for C.
BLUE AND PURPLE
Eggplant Eggplant, which has just 20 calories per cup, contains antioxidants with heart-protective qualities.
Plums A study from Texas AgriLife Research found that plums contain as much antioxidant power as blueberries. “Consuming plenty of antioxidants,” says Gidus, “may reduce postworkout muscle-tissue damage, speed recovery, and boost immune function.”
Banana It brims with potassium and quick-digesting carbs. “Potassium plays a key role in muscle contraction, with low levels linked to muscle cramping,” Gidus says.
Tofu Usually located in the produce department, tofu is an inexpensive and low-fat protein source. Add it to stir-frys, chili, or even pasta sauce.
Not sure when to buy organic? If you’re peeling or removing the rind (avocado, bananas, or onions), conventionally grown produce is fine. If you’re going to eat the exterior (apples, peaches, bell peppers), buying organic will limit your pesticide exposure.
Presliced packaged fruit Slicing ahead of time exposes more surface area, raising the risk for nutrient loss from oxygen exposure. And the packages are more expensive than whole fruit.
Iceberg lettuce One of the most popular vegetables is also one of the least nutrient-dense. In general, the darker the leafy green, the bigger the nutritional bang.
Bottled smoothies Many are sweetened with sugar or nutritionally poor juices like apple or pear. Plus, they almost always cost much more than making your own.
Article Source: Runners World Magazine
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