Sports

The Best Vegetables for Runners


Why should you eat spinach?

Spinach is loaded with vitamins and minerals, specifically the ever-important iron.

“Runners are more susceptible to having lower iron stores,” she says. “So it’s really important they have good sources of iron each week.”

Ehsani warns that while animal sources of iron are better absorbed by the body, spinach can easily do the trick as long as you pair the leafy green with a good source of vitamin C.

How can you add spinach to your diet?

Making a simple salad that pairs spinach with tomatoes or bell peppers that have a lot of vitamin C will help you reap the iron benefits.

Spinach is also easy to add to a sandwich, wrap, or smoothie. In fact, you can add it to almost any dish. Ehsani just recommends that, if you’re going to cook it, don’t overdo it or the spinach will sweat out important nutrients.

Tomatoes

Why should you eat tomatoes?

Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and potassium, and also have some vitamin K. But their most unique benefit comes when they’re cooked.

“Lycopene get pulled out,” says Ehsani. Lycopene is an antioxidant that helps with bone and oral health. It also helps with blood pressure and reduces risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

How can you add tomatoes to your diet?

Tomatoes can be made into sauces for pasta, slices for sandwiches, cubes for salads, or tossed into stews. You can even simply sprinkle salt and drizzle olive oil on a slice for a tasty snack.

Mushrooms

Photo: Alexandr Dzyuba/Unsplash

Why should you eat mushrooms?

Mushrooms are the main sources of vitamin D in the produce aisle. “It’s mainly found in dairy products,” Ehsani says, and fish. So if you can’t eat dairy or don’t like fish, then mushrooms are vital.

Vitamin D is important for many things, like calcium absorption, proper immune function, and general bone, heart, and muscle health. You get vitamin D naturally from the sun, but in the winter months or in colder, cloudier climates, you’ll need to consume more of it.

How can you add mushrooms to your diet?

Mushrooms have an almost meaty flavour, so they make a good substitute for foods like ground beef or turkey. Like many other veggies on this list, you can roast or sauté them too.

Bottom line: Just eat more veggies!

Vegetables are good for you, so they need a place in your diet. If you find that you aren’t having enough or if you gag at the sight of anything green, Ehsani has some sound advice.

“Try them in a variety of different ways,” she says. “Maybe you try it roasted one day, maybe you try it grilled … You don’t have to be eating them raw in a salad because that’s boring, or you don’t have to just steam your veggies.”

Do you love having eggs for breakfast? Great! Try throwing a little spinach in there. It’s all about finding creative ways to incorporate more veggies into your daily routine.

“You don’t have to cut anything out of your diet,” Ehsani says. “We just want you to try to add a little bit more veggies.”



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