Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of every runner’s diet. The natural antioxidants found in produce are absolutely essential in protecting against chronic conditions, such as heart disease and hypertension, boosting immunity and reducing inflammation caused by training.
Most nutritionists agree that the best way to consume antioxidants is to eat fruits and vegetables in their whole form. But nearly 75 percent of Americans fail to meet the recommended servings (two fruit, three veggie). Drinking your greens, reds and oranges can be a great way to fit in your servings without a fuss.
Juicing is also an easy way to expand your produce repertoire, explains Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RD. “For the athlete who doesn’t love spinach, marrying naturally sweet banana with the spinach is a viable way to get more of this green powerhouse into her everyday eating,” she says.
Need more motivation to drink up? Some juices may even enhance running performance. Recent studies found that certain fruit extracts, including beet and cherry, helped athletes go farther and recover more quickly due to high levels of nitrates and antioxidants. Homemade juice is a refreshing treat for runners, perfect when temperatures soar.