Superfoods for Runners

Superfoods for Runners

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Thanks to Free Digital Photos for the picture Thanks to Free Digital Photos for the picture
I was recently asked ‘what are the superfoods for runners?’ The short answer for this is to ensure the diet is balanced, including adequate protein and carbohydrate and plenty of fluid. The longer answer? Yes, there are some specific foods which can be categorised as superfoods for runners. The below list includes a variety of some of the best things you can choose to improve not only your running, but your overall health as well.

Low fat milk:

Milk provides the perfect combination of carbohydrate, protein (including the amino acid leucine) and electrolytes to help you recover from your long run. For best results this should be consumed within 20minutes of finishing your activity.

Rolled oats:

Low GI, high in carbohydrate, a fantastic choice for your pre-run meal. The carbohydrate content will help top up your glycogen stores, and ensure you have optimal energy to complete your session. I like to cook them with almonds, chia seeds and banana for a real superfood boost!


You saw my post last week about Beet It and why it is so fabulous. Yes, you can eat beetroot as well. Yes, fresh beetroot does not have the controlled or high quantity of nitrates that Beet It has, however it is a fantastic vegetable in its own right. Nitrates for exercise performance, plus antioxidants such as folate, vitamin C, carotenoids and a whole host of B vitamins. Get into it.

Sweet potato:

Rich in carbohydrates and packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and potassium, this is a wonderful addition to any runner’s diet. Mashed, roasted or steamed, this is a great way of getting in the carbs you need.


I recently wrote a post about the health benefits of nuts. Almonds in particular are great, as they reduce oxidative stress, and improve blood glucose control reduce inflammation due to their content of vitamin E, calcium, protein, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Chia seeds:

These little powerhouses are rich in calcium, fibre, vitamin C , iron and omega 3. Plus, they are 20% protein as well. Such an easy way of boosting the nutrient content of your meal! Can add them into whatever you please- smoothies, cereal, cakes, salads, soups, you name it!


Yes, it is our national emblem, and some are opposed to its consumption. Why is it on this list? It is lean (less than 2% fat), and it is rich in iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Especially important for runners, who are at elevated risk of iron deficiency. Plus, when cooked properly, tastes amazing. I love searing it on the BBQ and serving with quinoa and salad.


You may have seen my post on broccoli, kale is my other favourite leafy green. It packs a nutrient punch well beyond it’s weight. Rich in calcium and vitamin K for promoting bone health, iron for energy and Vitamin A for eye health, along with an array of other nutrients including vitamin C, it is one of the best choices you can make. Some may not be too fond of the taste… well it is one of the few things I will still tell you to eat, even if you don’t like it; with this it’s more about how great it is for you. That’s how great it is. Here is a recipe for sauteed kale, serve it up with some kangaroo and roast sweet potato - delish!

I’d love to hear your thoughts/comments- is there anything you swear by that’s not on the list? Or is there something there you swear by?

Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you'd like our help in managing diet-related health issues.

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