We watch in awe whenever Usain Bolt flies with his legs to touch the finishing line before anybody else, don't we? He does it so easily that we often wonder whether he is a superman.
Actually, he is not. What makes Bolt different from the rest is a super stamina and fitness level that compliment his talent, and that physical prowess comes with a perfect diet.
Also Read: 20 Veg Foods That Increase Stamina
Physical fitness and stamina are all that are required to be healthy and active in life. Remember, it's the type of food that we eat which shapes up our body and energy levels. The more you want to be active in life, the more healthy you should opt to be.
These important nutrients that runners need will also help people like you and me cope with the day-to-day hectic activities that we perform. Being fit is just one step away and by knowing more about the nutrients, you'll be more informed of what to eat and what not to.
Also Read: 20 Health Benefits Of Running
Here, we take a look at the top 10 nutrients in a runner's diet, which propels a runner like Bolt to the finishing line in a lightening speed.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A not just gives strong bones and skin, but also bolsters the eyesight, which is an essential quality of a successful runner. While men require 900 micrograms of vitamin A a day, 700 micrograms a day are necessary for the women.
Sources: This nutrient is available in sweet potatoes, kale, carrots, dark leafy green vegetables, cantaloupe, dry apricots, fish, liver, tropical fruits, lettuce, etc.
2. Vitamin B12
This nutrient helps the body breakdown the fat and protein it consumes for energy during a physical mission. Vitamin B12 also helps in the formation of new red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Lack of vitamin B12 can cause fatigue. Both men and women require 2.4 micrograms of this vitamin daily.
Sources: Milk and fortified food items like breads and cereals, fish, liver, seafoods like shellfish and crabs, fortified soy products, low-fat dairy, cheese, eggs and read meat.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to guard the runner against elements like pollution while on the run. Taken with food items like lentils, it also helps in the absorption of the energy-producing material. While men need 90 milligrams of this nutrient a day, women need 75 miligrams.
Sources: Bell peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, papayas, dark leafy green vegetables, peas, broccoli, strawberries, red peppers, etc.
4. Vitamin D
This is an extremely important requirement for runners, as deficiency of this vitamin can enhance the chances of injuries. Low level of vitamin D increases the risk of inflammation. Both men and women need 600 International Unit of this performance-enhancing vitamin.
Sources: Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel; fortified foods like dairy products, beef liver, orange juice, egg yolks, mushrooms, etc.
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps in keeping the body young and resilient. It also guards the body against infections and acts as an antioxidant to protect the body against pollution. It also keeps blood vessels in a good shape. Men and women need 15 milligrams of this nutrient daily.
Sources: Almonds, olive oil, sunflower seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts and vegetable oils provide this nutrient.
Calcium, as we all know, is an important pillar of our health. Besides supporting teeth and bone, this nutrient aids in contraction of the muscle and blood vessels. A human body needs a minimum of 1000 milligrams of calcium a day.
Sources: Milk, yogurt and cheese are the main providers of calcium. Leafy vegetables, seafood, fruits and legumes are also sources of this essential nutrient.
Fibre is essential for every athlete, as it helps regulating the weight and blood sugar levels and in lowering the cholesterol level. Runners take daily dose of this nutrient to stay regular. Men and women need 38 and 25 grams of fibre a day.
Sources: Beans, whole grains, brown rice, raspberries, popcorns, baked potato with skins, bran cereals, vegetables, oatmeal, etc.
8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This reduces muscle pain and improves tissue repair, post a race. It also prevents exercise-related asthma. Men and women are advised to eat at least 500 milligrams of this nutrient every other day.
Sources: Fish oil, sardine fish, juice, eggs, walnuts, seafood, spinach, soybeans, etc.
Iron gives power to the runners' muscles. It transports oxygen in the blood and muscles. While men require 8 milligrams of iron a day, for women it is more, that is, 18 milligrams daily.
Sources: Lentils, liver, sunflower seeds, clams, beef, beans, dark leafy vegetables, red meat, dark chocolate, etc.
Zinc helps in the proper healing of injuries and acts as a primary source of fuel. It also keeps the immune system in a good shape. Men need 11 milligrams of this nutrient a day, while women need 8 milligrams.
Sources: Animal products like red meat and poultry, sunflower seeds, beans, seafood, whole grains, beans, etc.
These top 10 nutrients make those runners that we admire a powerhouse of stamina and fitness. After reading this, shouldn't you also try them to get a better health?