When we runners think about food, we mostly focus its flavor, how well it can fuel up our workouts, or how much it will fill out our waistlines. But food serves another critical role: it provides essential vitamins and minerals we need to help turn food into energy, keep bones strong, boost immunity, repair strained muscle tissue, and live a long and healthy life.
And deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals can keep you from meeting your fitness goals. If you’re not getting enough Vitamin D or Calcium, for instance, you may have a higher risk of stress fractures. If you’re low in B12—say because you don’t eat meat or any animal products—you might feel chronically fatigued, and unable to give your all to workouts.
That’s why it’s important to make an extra effort to eat with vitamins and nutrients in mind. Here are some tips on how to do that.