If you are serious about becoming the best runner you can be, eating the right food is of paramount importance.
In fact, whether you are a recreational jogger or an elite marathoner, your body has unique nutritional needs, and you’ll never be able to reach your best on a crappy diet, period.
One food I believe is ideal for runners is avocado. Therefore, today I’m going to share with you the many reasons why you need this awesome source of healthy fats in your eating menu.
And if you have read my top 10 foods for runners list, then you already know (more than the average Joe) about some of the benefits that avocados have to offer.
Avocados: A Short Introduction
Avocado is a unique type of fruit from the Persea Americana—also known as evergreen tree—that’s native to Central and South American.
In fact, avocados are one my favorites. I have already written about them, and I often refer to them as a super food. This should come as no surprise given the health benefits they have to offer.
Why are they worth your trouble?
Here are some of the benefits of this awesome fruit.
1. High in fat
Half an avocado has roughly 160 calories, and 14 grams of fat. And approximately 75 percent of the calories found in avocados come from fat—this makes avocados on the fattiest plant food on the planet.
Nonetheless, if you are fat-phobic, then you should know that not all fat is created equal.
The good news is that majority of the fats is the healthy kind.
Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat—specifically omega 9 oleic acid (which is the same type of fat found in olive oil).
These healthy fats also improve your cholesterol profile and reduce the amount of triglycerides—a type of bad fat—drifting in your blood. This means a lowered risk of heart diseases and stroke.
2. Great Source of Potassium
Potassium is one of the essential electrolytes. This is a vital nutrient because it maintains electrical gradients in your body’s cell as well as ensuring various basic functions.
The good news is that an avocado contains 60 percent more than a banana (a typical high potassium food), and roughly 14% of the RDA.
3. High on Fiber
One avocado has as much as 12 to 16 grams of fiber. In fact, around 40 percent of the daily recommended intake of the stuff can be found in just one cup.
This fiber rich content can help you feel full faster and longer (think fewer cravings), which can help speed up weight loss.
Not only that, fiber can also help you eliminate toxins from your body as well as promoting healthy digestive tracts.
4. High in Anti-inflammatory Properties
Containing mainly, omega 3 fatty acids, carotenoid antioxidants, phytosterols and polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols, all of which can help you reduce muscle and joint soreness and speed up recovery between hard runs.
5. Vitamin B6
A 100 grams serving of avocados has roughly 13% of the RDA. This vitamin plays a significant role in the breakdown and conversion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, into energy. It also helps maintain a healthy nervous system and key for healthy adrenal function.
6. Vitamin B5
14% of the RDA in a 100 grams serving.
Also known as Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B5 is another major player in the conversion of food into energy. It also regulates blood sugar levels, lowers high blood pressure, reduces bad cholesterol and reduces the risks of the onset of conditions such as asthma, stress, anxiety, allergies and cardiovascular problems.
7. Vitamin C
17% of the RDA in a 100 grams serving. T
his is a powerful antioxidant agent that fights and wards off free radical damage. Runners need a lot of vitamin C, especially during hard training days, to reduce upper respiratory tract infections and fight the radicals produced by the high impact activity of running.
8. Vitamin E
10% of the RDA in a 100 grams serving.
One of the best antioxidant that there is, and it can help flush out and get rid of the free radicals produced while running.
9. Vitamin K
26% of the RDA in a 100 grams serving.
A vital nutrient that promotes and maintains healthy bone density. As a runner, this vitamin can help you improve bone density and aid the absorption of calcium, which is vital for keeping your bones healthy and preventing overuse injury.
10. Other Valuable Ingredients.
Avocados also contain small amounts of other valuable nutrients, including iron, manganese, magnesium, Zinc, Thiamine, and Phosphorous, making it a powerhouse fruit per excellence.
Pick the Right Ones
Avocados come in a myriad of shapes (from round to pear-shaped), sizes (weighing anywhere from 8 ounces to 3 pounds) and colors (from light green to pitch black). And the most popular and common type is known as Hass avocado. See picture.
Therefore, it’s key that you choose the best and opt for the best, period.
As a general guideline, a good avocado should be the color that is in the picture—dark, but not pitch black.
The ideal ones will be almost entirely black and soft to the touch, but not too mushy.
If it’s the latter, then it’s probably too ripe.
Check this video
In case you don’t use ripe avocados right away, stock them up in the refrigerator to prevent from spoiling.
As you can see, avocados got a lot to offer. Therefore, make sure to add them to your daily diet lifestyle. Now the question is how should you add them to your menu. Here are a few ways to eat avocados (even if you don’t love them that much).
You can add this awesome fruit by smashing it into guacamole, or putting slices on a sandwich, or topping your salads with them.
Add sliced avocados to your omelets, sandwiches, salads to add taste and healthy fat.
Whatever course of action you choose, avocados are a smart choice.
Ideas for Recipes
Check this link for 10 recipes to try. These are some of my favorite simple recipes. Feel free to use and share them with your friends and family, and training partners.
Featured Image Credit – Living Spoonful via Flickr