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Stamina Food For Running and Health

A key sign of a great runner is having strong stamina, which is often supported by consistent training and stamina foods. 

While stamina building requires regular training, choosing the right stamina food can amplify efforts. Choosing foods to increase stamina is helpful for athletes and fitness enthusiasts because it offers an additional tool for pushing further without experiencing as much fatigue. This is mostly aided by more efficient use of oxygen in the body.  

 

Stamina food for running and health stamina foods

1. Red Spinach Supplement - A Top Stamina Food 

A red spinach supplement could be a secret weapon addition to any runner’s diet. Especially for individuals who struggle to consume plates of leafy vegetables, this supplement makes it quick and easy to surge nitrate and iron levels. Oftentimes, a lack of stamina is linked to iron deficiency. By increasing the levels of iron in the body, which is used to make hemoglobin, the body can increase the supply of oxygen from our lungs to other vital organs and tissues. Adding more green leafy vegetables or taking a red spinach supplement as stamina food could be one of the easiest ways to increase iron and fiber levels. This will also work to increase the red blood cell count, which should improve the circulation of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.

A red spinach supplement has athletic performance levels of nitrate, which converts into nitric oxide in the body. As well as improving stamina, red spinach helps with recovery following training sessions. Athletes are able to push to higher levels of performance for longer, without fading, as often happens during a long distance run. Instead of choosing mainstream supplements that are often packed with chemicals and additives, a red spinach supplement offers a natural spike for a runner’s performance. The best time to take a red spinach supplement is about 60 minutes before running to help improve stamina for a minimum of 2-3 hours.

 

2. Beetroot Juice Supplement to Increase Stamina for Running

Another high-nitrate option for increasing stamina building is beetroot juice or a beetroot supplement. It is one of the top nitric oxide foods for runners. A study by the University of Exeter suggested that after drinking beetroot juice, stamina could increase by up to 16%. This great boost in performance is related to the high levels of nitrate in beetroot, which improves oxygen uptake. When oxygen levels are higher, performance follows, making beets a vital stamina food. It is easy to add beetroot juice to a morning routine about 60 minutes before training.

 

3. Green Foods to Increase Stamina for Running

Dark leafy green vegetables are excellent foods to increase stamina for running. Swiss chard stands out as a great nitric oxide booster and is rich in vitamins A, K, and H. Green spinach offers similar benefits and may also boost muscular function. Green spinach is best eaten raw as part of any meal before exercise to help boost nitric oxide production. Kale also contains nitrate along with potassium and magnesium. To improve the conversion of nitrate to nitrite, chew the kale instead of juicing it.

Another green stamina vegetable is broccoli. In addition to containing nitrate, broccoli also contains antioxidants that offer many health benefits to runners. Broccoli contains quercetin, which helps to reduce muscle inflammation following a long run. This may help increase stamina for the next day, as the muscles are not as fatigued. Bok Choy also falls into a nitric oxide boosting category while being rich in nutrients that help keep bones strong and healthy. It contains high levels of iron, which research suggests is crucial for runners to avoid osteoporosis later on in life. Consuming a combination of these stamina foods can potentially increase performance for runners and improve a well-rounded and balanced diet.

 

4. Bananas for Increasing Runner Stamina

Bananas are a well-known staple food in any runner’s diet. They are one of the top stamina foods with healthy levels of carbohydrates to increase energy before a run. Bananas are also an ideal snack on the go. Research suggests that bananas are one of the top stamina foods due to the natural sugar and starch. They are regularly given out during races for a quick energy boost.


5. Nuts to Boost L-Arginine Nitric Oxide

Walnuts, almonds, and pistachios are excellent for runners and general health as they deliver L-arginine, an amino acid that makes nitric oxide. There are many supplements on the market, but Dr. Louis Ignarro recommends eating almonds or walnuts daily as a natural source of L-arginine. According to a study from the University of León, when consuming L-arginine on a daily basis, 1.5–2 g/day for 4–7 weeks can improve aerobic and sports performance and 10–12 g/day for 8 weeks can enhance anaerobic sports performance.


6. Tart Cherries for Runner Recovery and Anti-Inflammatory

For their ample supply of antioxidants, tart cherries help runners recover more rapidly by acting as an anti-inflammatory, soothing aches and sore muscles. By recovering faster, runners are able to stick to training schedules and minimize missed training sessions. One study from Northumbria University showed that runners who drank tart cherry recovered faster than runners who did not consume tart cherry. Learn more in this Guide to Tart Cherries for Runners. 

Stamina Food Summary for Runners

Stamina Foods, a Summary for Runners

As a runner, consuming certain stamina foods can give the boost needed during long, challenging runs. No matter what type of running, foods that increase stamina for running can help make training more enjoyable and push the body further. This is especially true for long-distance and marathon runners, who often hit an exertion limit at some point during a race. By consuming the right stamina food, runners can continue to increase their pace and mileage while improving the quality of their runs and overall health.

 

References

Haynes, J.T., Townsend, J.R., Aziz, M.A., Jones, M.D., Littlefield, L.A., Ruiz, M.D., Johnson, K.D. and Gonzalez, A.M. (2021). Impact of Red Spinach Extract Supplementation on Bench Press Performance, Muscle Oxygenation, and Cognitive Function in Resistance-Trained Males. Sports (Basel, Switzerland), [online] 9(6), p.77. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34071862/

Exeter, U. of (n.d.). University of Exeter. [online] sshs.exeter.ac.uk. Available at: https://sshs.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_37371_en.html

Nieman, D.C., Gillitt, N.D., Henson, D.A., Sha, W., Shanely, R.A., Knab, A.M., Cialdella-Kam, L. and Jin, F. (2012). Bananas as an Energy Source during Exercise: A Metabolomics Approach. PLoS ONE, 7(5), p.e37479.

Toxqui, L. and Vaquero, M. (2015). Chronic Iron Deficiency as an Emerging Risk Factor for Osteoporosis: A Hypothesis. Nutrients, 7(4), pp.2324–2344.

Santana, J., Madureira, D., de França, E., Rossi, F., Rodrigues, B., Fukushima, A., Billaut, F., Lira, F. and Caperuto, E. (2019). Nitrate Supplementation Combined with a Running Training Program Improved Time-Trial Performance in Recreationally Trained Runners. Sports (Basel, Switzerland), [online] 7(5). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31117193

‌Bailey, S.J., Winyard, P.G., Vanhatalo, A., Blackwell, J.R., DiMenna, F.J., Wilkerson, D.P. and Jones, A.M. (2010). Acute l-arginine supplementation reduces the O2 cost of moderate-intensity exercise and enhances high-intensity exercise tolerance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 109(5), pp.1394–1403

Viribay, A., Burgos, J., Fernández-Landa, J., Seco-Calvo, J., & Mielgo-Ayuso, J. (2020). Effects of Arginine Supplementation on Athletic Performance Based on Energy Metabolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 12(5), 1300. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051300

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