Slim down, speed up and give your health a boost with these nutrient-packed foods and drinks.
When we runners hear the term ‘superfoods’, a list of exotic ingredients often comes to mind. Kelp noodles, anyone? But foods don’t have to be obscure to be super. Take the humble lentil, which packs a massive payload of nutritional power into a tiny package. Or consider the marvel of perfect protein that is the egg. And these foods aren’t just nutritionally super: they can also help you lose weight. That lentil can rev your calorie-burning engine. And eggs can hold off the hunger monster till lunch. The 11 superfoods here provide key nutrients runners need and also help you stay lean by boosting metabolism, burning fat or keeping you feeling full for longer.
As well as being full of hunger-reducing fibre and protein, beans pack another weight-loss superpower: resistant starch. Foods high in this nutrient (a type of carb that passes undigested through your intestine) may force your body to use extra energy to try to break them down. Researchers at the University of Colorado, US, found that adults who ate meals containing resistant starch had higher post-meal metabolic rates and that resistant starches may also help control appetite.
Get the boost Purée beans with garlic and a splash of oil to make a healthy dip for veggies.
These tiny legumes are metabolic powerhouses. Like beans, they contain resistant starch, says Marjorie Nolan Cohn, nutritionist and author of Overcoming Binge Eating For Dummies (£14.99, John Wiley & Sons). Lentils are also rich in iron – if you’re deficient in this mineral, your body is less efficient at using calories for fuel, says nutritionist Marlo Mittler.
Get the boost Add lentils to salads. Make lentil soup a frequent lunch choice.
These spicy peppers get their kick from capsaicin. Recent research at the University of California suggests this compound can boost post-meal calorie burn. ‘Eating spicy food may also curb your urge to continue to eat,’ says Cohn.
Get the boost Sprinkle cayenne or chilli powder on recipes from casseroles to grilled fruit. Use jalapeño peppers in marinades