When you think about what our bodies can do, it is pretty amazing! Whether your goal is to run a continuous mile for the first time or PR in your next marathon, there’s no doubt that the food you put in your body can make or break it’s ability get you across the finish line. Here are a few tips for optimal nutrition that will help maximize your training.
Cook in Cast Iron
For many female runners, iron levels can be a critical factor in regards to athletic endurance and performance. Low iron can negatively impact your training and race day performance, so it is essential to get adequate iron through your diet. Another way to increase iron levels is to cook foods in a cast iron skillet. Cooking in cast iron not only will benefit your iron levels, but you’ll be avoiding some of the easy carcinogens that are present in non-stick surfaces and can flake into food as pots and pans age.
Try Tart Cherries
Studies have shown that tart cherries are beneficial aid in recovery after hard bouts of exercise and can help athletes reduce inflammation. Tart cherries are also rich in melatonin and can help improve sleep, which is essential to recovery. You can incorporate tart cherries into your diet in the form of a concentrate or powder, and simply drink the juice or add it to smoothies.
An ancient grain also known as Emmer Wheat, Farro is an excellent alternative to quinoa or brown rice. High in fiber and iron, Farro is a great addition to any athlete’s diet. Once cooked, Farro can be served warm, chilled for inclusion in salads and makes a hearty addition to any soup.
Nibble on Dark Chocolate
Chocolate that is 70 percent cocoa or higher has been proven to have health benefits that are especially applicable for endurance athletes. Recent studies have shown that dark chocolate, which contains a flavanol called epicatechin, can increase nitric oxide production which reduces oxygen consumption. Snacking on 40g of dark chocolate each day could have a positive impact on your training.