There's so much great "runner food" that's in season in summer. Here are five whole foods that will help you stay healthy and fit during the hot-weather months:
Why it's good for you: Arugula is a spicy, bitter leafy green that belongs to the same family as broccoli. One cup contains four calories and 28 percent of your Daily Value for vitamin K, which aids in the formation of blood clots and may strengthen bones. It also offers a good dose of vitamins A and C, plus calcium and folate.
Preparation tip: Paired with the right ingredients, arugula makes a delicious salad. Try balancing the greens' bitterness with acidic, salty, and sweet flavors, such as fresh pears, prosciutto, and a lemon vinaigrette. Try other combos, such as arugula with cucumber, feta, and mint, or blue cheese, endive, and grapes.
Credit: Runner's World
Why they're good for you: Some runners avoid avocados because they're high in fat (one cup contains 21 grams). But nearly all of that comes from the heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which, when eaten in place of saturated or trans fats, can actually help lower LDL (so-called "bad" cholesterol) levels.
Preparation tip: Guacamole is an easy way to enjoy avocado. Mash two avocados and stir in two tablespoons diced red onion, a half cup diced tomato, half a minced jalepeño, two minced garlic cloves, a half cup chopped cilantro, three tablespoons lime juice, salt, and pepper. Serve with chips or vegetables.
Why they're good for you: One medium peach contains just 60 calories and two grams of fiber, plus vitamin C and beta-carotene, a heart-protective antioxidant. This juicy fruit also contains potassium, a mineral critical for regulating fluid and electrolyte levels, making peaches a tasty choice for rehydrating after a warm run.
Preparation tip: Peach Melba is a classic summer treat, with poached peaches, vanilla ice cream, and raspberry sauce. Or try white wine-marinated peaches: Peel, pit, and slice six peaches. Mix with 1 1/2 cups white wine, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Let mix stand for a half hour (or refrigerate two hours).
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Why they're good for you: Sour (or tart) cherries are nature's painkiller. Studies show that runners who drank tart-cherry juice twice daily for a week before a long race reported less pain than placebo drinkers. Choose whole cherries more often than juice; one cup of fruit has half the calories and more fiber than the juice.
Preparation tip: Sour cherries are delicious in cobbler and pie, and in quick-bread batter. Or make sour-cherry syrup: Boil four cups pitted cherries with 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water for 10 minutes (add a splash of lemon or lime juice if you like). Pour in a jar and store in the fridge. Ladle the fruit over waffles or ice cream.
Why they're good for you: This delicious summer fruit contain anthocyanins, which are found in other red and blue fruits and help reduce inflammation and counteract muscle damage from exercise. One cup of strawberry halves contains just 49 calories and nearly 150 percent of your Daily Value for vitamin C.
Preparation tip: Strawberries with balsamic vinegar is a simple Italian dessert. The acidity of the vinegar brings out the sweet-tartness of strawberries. In a bowl add two drops of balsamic vinegar to one teaspoon of sugar. Toss a pint of clean, hulled strawberries into the mixture. Marinate for a few minutes.
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