Here’s what we think is worth considering.
Shelves are filling up with innovative, fortified foods, including soft drinks, beer, popcorn, cookies, nut butters, and yes, candy. Manufacturers are trying to give their health-conscious consumers more bang for their buck by adding vitamins and minerals to everyday products. Protein seems to be in everything right now: pancakes, breads, bagels, pasta, and cookies.
Thirsty? Try cola-flavored kombucha, which is an excellent source of probiotics—something soft drinks definitely don’t have.
Or for a snack, ramp up your popcorn with spirulina—an algae rich in B vitamins, beta-carotene, and zinc.
Bill Rogers once said, “More marathons are won or lost in the porta-toilets than at the dinner table.” Luckily, there’s help for the astounding number of runners whose GI distress has disrupted their performances.
Fermented foods and foods with “live and active cultures”—kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt—contain strains of probiotics known to support and possibly improve gut health.
In addition to eating whole foods rich in probiotics supplements can also be a good option. Daily supplementation has been shown to improve immunity, improve athletic performance, and improve mental health, says Lauren Jones, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., the assistant director of sports nutrition at the University of Utah. And in the case of inadequate diet and antibiotic therapies, probiotics can aid in preventing nutrient deficiencies.
But choose a supplement wisely, says Lisa McDowell, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., dietitian for the Detroit Red Wings. Aim for more than 50 billion cultures, avoid extraneous ingredients, and choose products with diverse strains.
Collagen and Bone Broths
Your joints can take a toll with regular, high-impact exercise. Collagen has been shown to improve joint health and reduce pain in athletes. Bone broth is becoming more and more popular thanks to its high levels of collagen, or try a collagen protein supplement.
The average American eats more than 77 pounds of added sugar per year, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s more than 90 grams per day—U.S. dietary guidelines cap sugar intake at 50 grams per day.
Be sure to read nutrition labels to find out where sugar might be hiding. A general rule of thumb: If sugar is listed in the first three ingredients, put it back on the shelf. Cereals are one of the worst culprits of added sugar. Instead of sugar-laden flakes, try Erewhon Organic Harvest Medley cereal, which is lightly sweetened and has loads of whole grains like organic sorghum, brown rice and puffed quinoa.
Beverages are also sky-high in added sugar. If you want flavor, without the calories and artificial ingredients, try La Croix or a lightly sweetened (with stevia) soft drink, like Honest Fizz.
Sustainable and Pasture-Raised
It’s no secret that sustainable and pasture-raised foods are growing in popularity but does the price tag translate into running benefits? Sometimes. Grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs have been shown to have greater concentrations of certain nutrients that boost recovery compared to conventional beef and eggs.
In fact, one study found that eggs from pasture-raised hens contain twice as many omega-3 fatty acids than conventional eggs, to fight inflammation. Pasture-raised eggs also have higher levels of vitamin E to help decrease muscle damage.
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