When you want to improve the running performance and timings, the diet plays a crucial role apart from the physical training. It simply means to ditch all the unhealthy snacks and embrace fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, and legumes. In addition, your food should contain essential vitamins and minerals that will provide ample energy, keep bones strong, build up immunity, repair muscle tissues, prevent diseases, and allow you to live a healthy life.
Deficiencies Of Micronutrients Can Hamper Fitness Goals
There is an increased risk of stress fractures if the intake of vitamin D and calcium is inappropriate. You may feel fatigued if you are vitamin B12 deficient. As a runner, nutrition advice is a must. Generally, eating habits have three macronutrients loaded in the diet. Carbohydrates, protein, and fats form an integral part of everyday food. But neglecting the micronutrients can hamper your performance. The macronutrients will provide you with the desired energy. Still, at the same time, the micronutrients, namely vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other components, will regulate the hormones, improve digestion, protect you from injuries, and boost the immunity system.
A lot of micronutrients are vital for the overall performance of runners, but there are a few that are crucial. Runners expose themselves to a lot of environmental stress factors like radiation and pollution. They also face a lot of mental and physical stress. These factors create free radicals in the body that can attack and damage the body’s healthy cells. Eating whole foods can prevent harm the free radicals cause.
Calcium is vital for a lot of basic body functions. For example, it helps in regulating blood pressure, muscle contractions and prevents blood clotting. If you are calcium and vitamin D deficient, then the risk of stress fractures and low bone-mineral density increases. Dairy products are a rich source of calcium. Consuming canned salmon, almonds, cooked kale, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and fortified orange juice can also help you cover your calcium needs. Most of the body’s calcium is in the bones and teeth, and if you’re calcium deficient, then the body would fulfill its needs through these reserves, leaving the bones and teeth weak and brittle.
Vitamin D plays a crucial part in the absorption of calcium in the body. It also regulates phosphorus levels that assist in keeping the bones healthy. If you do not have enough access to sunshine, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin B Group
The group includes micronutrients like thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folate, and vitamin B-12. The group of B vitamins is extremely important to improve metabolism. They are vital in helping to produce energy, red blood cells and aid in the amalgamation of protein, and repair body tissues. Unfortunately, female athletes and vegetarians are generally deficient in riboflavin, folate, and Vitamin B-12. Whole grains are a great source of B vitamins. In addition, sources like meat, dairy, nuts, nutritional yeast, fruits, and green vegetables are also rich in B vitamins.
Inadequate iron in the body leads to fatigue, disturbs muscle functioning, and restricts the capacity to work out. Iron deficiency is very common in runners, especially women. Iron assists in the production of hemoglobin, which acts as the oxygen carrier to your body’s cells. So if you are deficient in iron, the body struggles to get oxygen, leaving you feeling worn out. The easiest sources of iron include beef, poultry, kidney beans, liver, pork, black beans, fortified grains, and cereals. The absorption of iron is better if combined with a vitamin C-rich diet.
Zinc plays a vital role in strengthening the immune system, producing energy, and building and repairing muscle tissues. Zinc is necessary for a healthy and strong immune system that will avert sickness and kill bacteria and viruses. Zinc is also important for the quick healing of wounds and repairing injuries. Unfortunately, people who exercise hard often have a zinc deficiency. Pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, mushrooms, cashews, spinach, chicken, yogurt, cocoa powder, red meat, raw oysters, dark-meat poultry, whole grains, and cereals are rich sources of zinc.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones. It also helps regulate the balance of calcium and vitamin D. The blood sugar level, protein synthesis in the body, and blood pressure is all regulated by magnesium. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, figs, bananas, almonds, avocados, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, yogurt, seeds, whole grains, and nuts are rich sources of magnesium. Beans, seafood, and dairy products also provide magnesium.
Sodium is an essential micronutrient if you are working out or running in hot weather. You lose electrolytes (sodium) when you sweat, which hampers the functioning of the muscles and disrupts the balance of the fluids in the body. You may boost sodium levels by drinking coconut water or any other nutritious fluid.
Micronutrients play an important role in bringing energy, improving metabolism, improving overall running performance, and saying goodbye to fatigue. Therefore, including micronutrients in the diet is a must. Adopt these healthy eating habits and see the improvement in your running performance.