We all know summer runs are extra hot and sweaty, which means you need ample fuel to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine.
Luckily, summer is also home to some of the most vibrant and freshest produce of the year. Take advantage of summer’s bounty with these 10 fruits and veggies that are sure to keep you running strong.
Beets aren’t just for the Thanksgiving table. They’re in-season during the summer months and offer plenty of health benefits that will make you eager to stock up. This root vegetable is high in Vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium and is especially popular among endurance athletes because of their nitrates. Studies have even shown beets can increase running performance.
Grilled corn on the cob? Yes, please. This summer favorite is not only delicious but good for you, too. Since corn is mostly made of carbohydrates, it’s actually the perfect pre-run fuel if you’re looking for something heavy in starch. Corn is also high in insoluble fibers, which will help with digestion if you experience irregularity.
Cherries should be on your summer grocery list for one main reason: antioxidants. Antioxidants remove waste products, known as free radicals, from our cells. Since running actually produces more free radicals in the body, you need antioxidant-heavy foods to balance it out. Cherries are especially high in anthocyanins, hydroxycinnamic acid and perillyl alcohol. Bonus points if you buy tart cherries—they contain even larger amounts.
Cooking your foods with garlic this summer could actually make you a better runner, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic can reduce swelling in the joints, lower the risk of heart disease and even alleviate the common cold. But perhaps most importantly to runners, garlic has been shown to boost athletic performance by reducing fatigue. Consider eating garlic in some form before your next long run.
You’ve got another reason to go strawberry-picking this summer. Aside from being downright delicious, strawberries are another fruit that are packed with antioxidants, specifically, polyphenols. Polyphenols can reduce inflammation, help with body weight regulation and combat heart disease. Strawberries are also a great way to get your Vitamin C. One serving (about eight strawberries) contains more than an entire orange.
You’ve probably heard that carrots are great for your eyes, and that’s in part thanks to their high amounts of Vitamin A. Just one cup of raw carrots far exceeds the daily recommendation, which is important to meet, since a severe deficiency in Vitamin A can even lead to a progressive eye disease known as xerophthalmia. Err on the side of caution, and protect your eyes by eating plenty of this summer vegetable.
Drinking bottle after bottle of water before your summer runs can get pretty boring. May we offer a suggestion? Good ol’ watermelon. Much like its name suggests, watermelon is over 90 percent water, and at under 40 calories a cup, it’s a steal. Just be careful—some runners experience gastrointestinal distress if they consume too much.
Is there anything more satisfying than grilled zucchini boats in the summertime? This type of summer squash is not only super low in calories (only 20 for an entire cup!) but also high in Vitamin C. One cup of chopped zucchini contains almost 25 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and almost 30 percent for women.
A juicy peach after a short summer run isn’t just a scrumptious way to refuel—it’s effective. This quick snack will supply the right mix of carbs, natural sugars and fiber, plus magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Pair it wit
Lemon and Limes
Try infusing your water with lemon and lime this summer. Not only are both of these citrus fruits at their peak during the warmer months, but they will also help you meet your Vitamin C needs, support your immune system, flush out toxins and give you a serious energy boost. Plus, it might even keep you from turning to sugar-packed juices and sodas.