Eat to Run for Life
Fight back the years with good nutrition
Photo by Duane Raleigh
Though running can be an energizing fountain of youth, no one is impervious to time's steady tick. After age 30, you start to lose muscle mass and bone density begins to decline by 40. Joints gradually become less flexible and more injury-prone. Running, in particular, puts you at risk for injury, and recovery from intense workouts or high mileage takes longer. The good news is that eating enough of the right foods can satisfy your body's changing nutritional needs and keep you healthy and running for life.
Load Up on Antioxidants
All activity, even breathing, subjects your body to damaging "free radicals." These unstable molecules, unavoidable byproducts of oxidation, turn healthy cells into unhealthy ones by stealing their electrons. The resulting cellular damage increases risk and severity of disease, and speeds up the aging process. "Antioxidants, which offer up their own electrons, help repair and rebuild the damage done by free radicals," says Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, a registered dietician (RD) and marathon runner in Sarasota, Florida.
Antioxidants are found in vitamins A, C and E, known as the "powerhouse trio," and are plentiful in fruits (especially berries) and vegetables. Antioxidants are also found in nuts, seeds, whole grains and even tea and coffee. Studies show they dramatically reduce post-workout muscle soreness, which leads to quicker recovery.