A To Z Of The Best Foods For Runners

Woman running with headphonesRunning is not only one of the most popular ways of staying fit and keeping weight off, it is also a fantastic sport with many opportunities for amateurs and professionals alike to compete.

As with all sports, to perform better you need to eat better. Here we share some of the best foods you can eat for running. This article follows on from our smoothie recipe guide for runners. There is also some crossover with our article Why Vegan Athletes Keep Winning.


Arugula is one of the Five greens you must add to your diet. It is bursting at its cellular seams with Vitamin K, A, C plus healthy minerals such as magnesium, calcium, manganese and potassium. Great in salads, on pizza or just eaten raw on its own.

Beet Greens

Beet greens are the leaves that come on beetroot plants. Most people eat beetroot, few eat the greens. Beet greens contain Vitamin A, C, and K  and are great for building stronger bones. Strong bones are less likely to fracture and cause niggling injuries in runners.


Broccoli is is a super healthy food. It contains Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, and manganese. It also contains quercetin which helps lower muscle inflammation. It is also good for heart and lung health. Read about more Health Benefits Of Eating More Broccoli.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts are not just for Christmas! These little balls of green awesomeness provide bundles of Vitamin K and Vitamin C as well as some protein and a load of dietary fiber.


The simple cabbage is a wonderful vegetable. Filled with Vitamin K and C and also folate. Folate is good for healthy blood. Cabbage soup is an infamous fad weight loss diet, but when cabbage is steamed it is healthy and nutritious.


There is more to carrots than carotene. They also contain Vitamin A and Vitamin B6, which are vital for a healthy immune system.


Cauliflower stands out on this list because it is not green – although the leaves are! It contains Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). B5 is an essential nutrient that is needed to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, i.e. it helps us digest our food. Better digestion means more energy and more nutrients for fitness.

Chinese Cabbage (Pak Choy)

Chinese cabbage is high in vitamin A and C and is great in seafood dishes. If you are pregnant you should avoid it because of the vit A.


Chard is another leafy green vegetable, in fact, this was mentioned on our page Five greens you must add to your diet. Chard contains Vitamin K and carotenoids. It is great raw in salads or cooked.


Hickory chicory tock, the mouse ran up the clock. Chicory is a pleasantly bitter leafy green that has calcium, Vitamin A and potassium. Potassium is excellent for moderating blood pressure and heart rate, something very important for athletes.


Chives are usually added for flavor but they are packed with Vitamin A, C, K, folate, plus magnesium and manganese. Chives are related to onions and have a mild, grassy flavor.

Collard Greens

Collard Greens are packed with calcium and therefore help to strengthen your bones.


Endive is a rather unusual vegetable and, let’s be frank, very unpopular. But it is full of goodness, including Vitamin K, A, C and folate. They are rather bitter but when cooked can be delicious. The Belgiums call it White Gold.


Kale is another of the superfoods because it is jam packed with Vitamin K along with Vitamin A, C, and manganese. Kale featured second on your list of Five greens you must add to your diet. Kale can help with allergies and this means improved air flow. Kales is nice steamed or stir-fried.


The humble lettuce, found in sandwiches and salads all over the country, possibly the most eaten vegetable after the potato. It is packed with Vitamin A, K, C, folate and riboflavin. Riboflavin is another antioxidant that has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Mustard Greens

Mustard Greens are the leaves of a mustard plant. They are packed with Vitamin K and also cotnain calcium, manganese, and folate. Great in salads – they provide a nice peppery taste.


Parsley is usually just a garnish on the edge of a plate that is ignored. But it is packed with Vitamin C, copper, and manganese, all of which play a role in a healthy immune system. it also helps keep the digestive system running smoothly. Great with fish.


Pumpkin is the vegetable that saved the first settlers to America from starvation. It is also packed with Vitamin A, C, riboflavin and Vitamin E. For such a large vegetable is really packs a punch. Pumpkin soup is a great dish for runners.

Red Pepper

Red Pepper is one of the few non-leaves on the list. They are a great source of  Vitamin C, A, and Vitamin B6. B6 helps make hemoglobin, which is needed to transport oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. Add to salads, grill, fry, or bake.

Romaine Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce is a spring salad and packed with Vitamin A, C, magnesium, calcium and iron. A fruitier tasting leaf that makes a delicious, fresh salad.


Spinach, Popeye’s favorite, is packed with Vitamin A, C, and K, iron and protein. It is excellent with pasta and chicken

Turnip Greens

Like beet greens, these are usually chopped off the top of the plant and thrown out before you see them in the shops. They are packed with Vitamin K, A, and folate and help build healthy red blood cells. They taste similar to cabbage and can be steamed or eaten raw in salads.


Watercress is one of the most nutrient dense foods that also provides antioxidants that aid with tissue repair. Watercress can be added to salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches or just eaten on its own.

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