I recently have been reading more into "superfoods" and foods for athletes. As many of my friends, fellow bloggers, and "tweeps" may know, I am a runner. I am currently training for the Cleveland Half-Marathon on May 15 as well as a few shorter runs between now and then. Since many of us have made resolutions to eat healthier and become more active, I would like to summarize an article I recently read. I have recently came across a very interesting article about the best foods for female runners and have decided to share with you. Unfortunately, I did not bookmark the page so I cannot post it. I was surprised to see many foods I already eat and want to try are on this list. So here is the list and my thoughts on each.
1: Oatmeal. For the longest time, I only ate oatmeal in cookie form. Not because I didn't like it, but because I will admit, I fail EVERY time I go to make it. Yesterday was no exception either. You can smile and laugh at me all you want Mr. Quaker Oats guy. I will one day enjoy a nice creamy warm bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Why oatmeal?? It has a lower-glycemic index which provides prolonged energy. Foods are measured at the rate they break down carbs and release glucose into your blood which in turn gives you energy. (I will spare the biochemistry lesson here)
2: Edamame: I was so happy to see my favorite sushi appetizer on this list! It turns out, these little legumes are packed with protein, fiber magnesium, potassium, iron, and Vitamins K and C. Just don't add too much salt to them.
3: Dried fruits: Instead of enjoying raisins, Crasins, etc. with my lunch, I have started eating them as a pre-workout snack since they are a healthy source of simple sugars which provide quick, rapid bursts on energy. Also, it was suggested sprinkling them in yogurt and oatmeal (can't seem to avoid Mr. Quaker now, can I??)
4: Green Tea: Since I already drank my 6-8 glasses of water a day, I decided to substitute my afternoon water for green tea. I use a 24 oz water bottle and fill it up at least 3x a day. When I fill it up after lunch, I throw in a green tea bag. It is a nice boost of flavor and caffeine as well as anti-oxidants (specifically EGCG) which improve endurance, increase fat burning, and boost immunity.
5: Olive Oil: Already my cooking oil of choice. Your body needs fats, just choose them wisely. Olive oil has been shown to aid in post-workout recovery.
6: Ricotta Cheese: Love ricotta already in cannoli and lasagna. However, I chose a reduced-fat ricotta and started putting it on high fiber tortillas sprinkled with a little cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Makes a great snack or breakfast filled with protein to increase the muscle to fat ratio during training.
7: Kale: This was on my list of foods to try in 2011. Once finding out it is a great source of fiber, vitamins C and K, beta-carotene, and manganese, it quickly moved up my list. I also found this great recipe for creamed mushrooms and kale too!
8: Quinoa: Have heard many great things about quinoa and have many recipes to try. I bought a sack of it at the West Side Market over the holidays. Look for a future blog all about quinoa and how to enjoy this whole grain full of complex carbs, zinc, B vitamins, iron, fiber, and magnesium.
9: Salmon: I love seafood so this one is easy for me. Salmon is a great source for omega-3 fatty acids which are one of the healthiest unsaturated fats for you. They have numerous anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and other immune benefits.
With any food, read labels carefully and try to support local businesses. Next time you are dining at one of Cleveland's fine restaurants, look to see what they offer with these foods. I also want to mention Healthy Heddleston's fabulous blog. She is a registered dietician and her blog provides a plethora of information on eating and living a healthy lifestyle.
And last but certainly not least, Hungry in Cleveland is now on Facebook!!! How much do you "like" H.I.C.???
Until next time...follow your heart, fulfill your hunger!