5 Super Foods to Help Your Performance

Saturday’s Run: 4 miles @ 40:00

Today I was scheduled to run 6 miles. Since I missed three runs this week because I was sick, I was trying to make up for lost time…but I’m apparently not completely over this stomach bug. The first two miles were a little difficult because my muscles didn’t feel stretched out very much, but once I got past mile 2 they started to feel better. That wasn’t the problem, though.

The entire time I was running, I was sweating WAY more than I normally do. This could be attributed to a few things: I didn’t hydrate properly today, I’ve eaten like crap the past two days (even though I had just been sick), and I am still getting over a stomach bug.

When I say I’ve eaten like crap, I really mean C-R-A-P. Sorry if I seem like I’m being graphic. My day on Friday started with one of those Dunkin Donuts brown sugar coffees and a doughnut, lunch was the healthiest thing I had with a shake n bake pork chop and applesauce, and pizza for dinner followed by some amazing sea salt & caramel gelato. Yes, it was Valentine’s Day, so I totally splurged. But when you follow that up with another day of poor eating, you know you’re in trouble.

I’m not going to bore you with my entire day’s diet (plus I’m a little embarrassed, you’ll probably think I’m a total pig!), but it wasn’t good. Especially considering I was sick just two days ago.

Moving on…while reflecting on my poor diet choices I decided to do some research on some power foods that actually help improve your running, as opposed to hinder it. There are a lot of power foods out there, so I thought I’d just share 5 power foods/beverages that I found to be the most surprising:

1. Beet Juice. I learned about this one from Heather. Well, it’s pretty funny that I read this off of Heather’s blog one day, and then my husband mentioned to me a few days later that he had also read about the benefits of it. According to Runner’s World (and JP), it helps with your blood flow as well as with muscle contraction and neurotransmission. So even though I never would have thought I might try this “concoction” for running, I think I’ll be drinking it in the near future!

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2. Tart Cherry Juice. One that’s a little more appealing to me, tart cherry juice was recommended by Cassie. I didn’t know too much about this one, but the New York Times had published an article saying that this and beet root juice were preferred by professional athletes.
Why, you ask? According to the Times, it works as a recovery drink when you over-exert yourself. Studies show that it reduces muscle pain and weakness after running a marathon and intense strength training.

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3. Pickle Juice. In this article, pickle juice is a chosen recovery food by some Olympic athletes. If you’re a pickle lover (like me), you might be able to stomach drinking this tangy “beverage,” which has high doses of sodium, which prevents muscle cramps, as well as potassium and magnesium.

4. Dark Chocolate. Who knew that a food you may have thought was bad could so good for you? According to the Washington Post, this food can help your marathon performance because it lowers blood pressure and improves vascular performance. So if you’re craving chocolate before a run, there may be a reason why…just make sure you only eat a couple pieces. Any more, and you may get sick!

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5. Green Tea. And in this article from the Huffington Post, many Olympic runners choose to drink unsweetened green tea, which reduces muscle damage and speeds recovery. So drink up!

Did I miss something? What’s a unique power food that you’ve learned helps boost performance…and how does it work?

Which of the above items would you try…and which ones are you completely disgusted by?

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10 thoughts on “5 Super Foods to Help Your Performance

  1. Marie @ Buncha Monkeys

    Interesting! The only other time I’ve read about beet juice was on Ryan Hall’s blog. He had a recipe for red velvet pancakes and used the beet juice to make them red. I love cherries but not the tart kind. I wonder if only the tart kind has the health benefits. And pickle juice? No thanks. 😉

    Reply
  2. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    You know, what? When I get over a stomach bug, I have no desire to eat any of the healthy food I am used to. The anesthesia made me sick after my surgery so for at least two days after that, I was eating VERY weird things.. definitely not my usual stuff. In fact, my first post being sick in the stomach meal was ARBYS haha! I definitely didn’t feel good about my choices but my stomach was so weird it was like I had no choice. I hope you are feeling 100% really soon 🙂 Don’t worry, we allllll have those c-r-a-p days!

    Reply
  3. Tina@GottaRunNow

    I’ve had all of those foods on your list. Well, that is, if beet juice from the can of sliced beets counts! Nuts are a superfood I like: protein, fiber, healthy fats. I hope your 14 miler goes well!

    Reply
  4. emmelineruns

    I drank beet juice when I was doing my marathon training. It’s disgusting haha. And I really really really hate cherries so I don’t think I’ll be trying that one but I drink 3-4 cups of green tea every day so at least I’m doing one of these things! I love pickles so Ivan totally see me doing the pickle juice thing after a really sweaty summer run.

    Reply
  5. Heather

    Yay for Beets! 😉 LOL.
    When I am sick, I also eat like c-r-a-p! I read that there’s actually a reason for this. Apparently your body is using all it’s energy to recover you and you have very little mental energy left to make those ‘good food choices.’ ???? I don’t know, but it makes sense to me!

    I do not think I could handle pickle juice!!! But I may give the tart cherry a whirl. 😉

    Reply
  6. Laura @ RunningJunkie

    Great. Now I want Caramel and Sea Salt Gelato (Seriously! That sounds amazing!) and dark chocolate it’s only 9:00 AM. lol.

    Chia seeds are supposed to be excellent for runners too, right? I have some just about every day.

    Reply
    1. 262x2 Post author

      Soo, the question is…did you cave and end up eating sea salt caramel gelato for breakfast? I know that chia seeds are really good for you in general…I’ll have to look into how they specifically benefit your performance, and maybe add it to the list!

      Reply

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