"You are what you eat." This saying is completely true, especially if you exert yourself through long-distance physical exercise. Marathon runners, swimmers, triathletes and bikers should all integrate superfoods into their diets to maximize endurance, energy and overall health. You don't have to have a Nutrition Science degree to understand the benefits of these foods.
More: The Top-Secret Superfood
Check out the top foods for endurance:
Despite the confusing name, this gluten-free and grainy superfood is known for its complex nutritional profile. It cooks in less than 15 minutes, and contains both high levels of protein and carbohydrates. Plus, quinoa has all nine essential amino acids, which are critical to the functioning of the human body.
Quinoa's benefits to endurance athletes have been known for centuries. In fact, the Incas used it to increase the stamina of their warriors, which helped them to run long distances at high altitudes. This superfood is also a source of manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium and calcium. This complex grain can be integrated into just about any meal—from breakfast to dinner.
More: 7 New Super Foods
This leafy green is brimming with nutrients that are vital for athletic performance. Vitamins like magnesium, vitamin C, calcium, folate, zinc and iron can all be found in kale. Integrating kale into your everyday diet is easy and very beneficial to boost performance.
Add a few cups of kale into your morning smoothie. Or, prepare it as a side dish by sautéing it with a little garlic and olive oil. Your body will thank you during a long run—no pun.
It's probably not surprising to see bananas on the list, as you see them before and after almost every long-distance race. Bananas are the perfect food to consume 30 minutes before an endurance race because they are packed with complex carbs and potassium, which minimizes cramping and helps the cardiovascular systemfunction. If you need a quick fix to boost your energy before a long run, bike ride, or swim, eating a banana should be a no-brainer.
More: 4 Fruits You Should Snack On