It's no mystery that the night before a big marathon, triathlon, race or long morning run, consists of heading to your local Italian restaurant and loading up on bread and pasta.
From crazy fad diets to carbo-loading, it's easy to see why there are many misconceptions about the best fuel for your body before a day of incredible exertion. There are certain foods that should be on your weekly grocery list, as well as fueling foods for your body on a daily basis.
The long grueling workouts that many endurance athletes partake in, can take a toll on your body and mind, but being aware of which foods to consume in order to help your body recover faster, is crucial.
Vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are what we all expect athletes to consume. However, lean proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates provide your body with fuel.
More: How to Create Your Ironman Nutrition Plan
Here are the top 10 super foods for endurance athletes that should be staples in your diet.
Oatmeal has a high soluble fiber content, is high in complex carbohydrates, is a good source of protein and has a low glycemic index, which provides a sustained release of energy into the bloodstream—imperative for runners. Oatmeal offers your body a regular dose of Vitamin B and is rich in minerals and antioxidants. It's credited for maintaining the good level of cholesterol in the body and is known as one of the most nourishing foods for the body, especially for athletes.
Cherries are one of the most antioxidant-rich fruit and provide a wide range of health benefits, as well as performance and recovery benefits for athletes. Research has shown that runners who consumed tart cherry juice, twice a day for seven days a week, had strikingly less muscle pain following a long distance run. The post-exercise benefits are astonishing because of the fruit's natural anti-inflammatory components. A recent study from the University of Michigan revealed that a cherry enriched diet lowered total weight, body fat and inflammation, all associated with heart disease.
More: Top 5 Race-day Nutritional Tips