21 of the Best Foods for Boosting Endurance and Stamina

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It takes a lot of hard work to boost your endurance, so maximize all your effort by making sure to eat the right foods too!

bike_ride_bicyclist_road_strength_picEndurance is something anyone who runs long distance or attempts extended workouts will actively hope for. Having the stamina on hand to complete a marathon, ultramarathon, or even just run for half an hour on the treadmill takes hard work, willpower, and plenty of time as you slowly build your body’s ability to keep going. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do that can help speed the development of your endurance along.

3 Things to Avoid

Avoid processed foods. These are packed with sodium and refined sugars while stripped of fiber and antioxidants. The calorie-dense and nutrient-lacking nature of processed foods means they slow you down and limit your body’s capability to repair itself.

Don’t over or under hydrate. Hydration is important to endurance, but dehydration cuts down on metabolism while too much hydration bogs you down and imbalances electrolytes. Sodium isn’t the only electrolyte we need, and most of us get way too much of this nutrient. It is vital to life, but in high amounts it raises blood pressure and puts a strain on the kidneys. Cut back on sodium and get some of the other electrolytes, like potassium and fulvic acid.

Refined sugar is also a problem for endurance. Sure, it gives you a huge boost in energy initially, but that energy runs out just as fast. These spikes in blood sugar also do damage to blood vessels and muscles. Avoid alcohol too. Alcohol dehydrates the body, puts strain on the liver and kidneys, and is a depressant. These both get in the way of stamina and endurance.

21 Foods to Boost Endurance

barley_grain_harvest_green_healthy_endurance_carbohydrates_foods_picFor a healthier boost to stamina, look for foods that contain good complex carbohydrates, fiber, lean protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. These will supply a steady stream of energy and promote protection and repair as you push your body past its normal limits.

Barley

This grain was used by the Roman army and gladiators to fuel their long marches, competitions, and battles. Barley is rich in fiber and complex, slow-burning carbohydrates that provide long-term energy throughout even the most brutal workout. Activated Barley is made by sprouting and fermenting this grain, which makes the nutrients even more bioavailable.

Oatmeal

Oats and other whole grains provide fiber, complex carbohydrates, and protein to supply a steady stream of energy. They are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Both barley and oats contain beneficial carbohydrates called beta-glucans, which boost immune function and heart health too.

Water

Proper hydration is vital to fully activated endurance. Drink plenty of clean water daily. Fresh juices and teas are also beneficial.

Blueberries

Most berries are packed with fiber and water to keep you hydrated. Blueberries are also rich in powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect against and undo all the tearing down and stress that takes place during long runs and work outs.

almonds_milk_vegan_healthy_nuts_picWalnuts and Almonds

These nuts are rich in essential amino acids required to rebuild muscle. They also contain healthy fats that keep the cardiovascular system running at optimum and boost energy levels. Nuts are a good source of vitamin E, fiber, and antioxidants too.

Cherries

Cherries are rich in antioxidants that have been shown to reduce inflammation and ease muscle pain during recovery. They may also help you sleep better, which is when the body repairs all the damage we do throughout the day.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates paired with fiber for slow digestion, providing that ever crucial steady flow of nutrients. They are also rich in beta-carotene and antioxidants.

Kale

Kale and other dark leafy greens are often missing in an athlete’s diet. These provide vitamin A, K, B6, iron, and lutein to speed recovery, raise energy levels, improve oxygen flow, and reduce inflammation. Don’t ignore the greens when you are looking to boost your endurance levels.

Red Peppers

Vitamin C is important to many functions of the body, including proper blood flow and the health of blood vessels. It’s a powerful antioxidant too, and red peppers are filled with it. Red peppers also contain anti-inflammatories that reduce pain.

Bananas

bananas_sliced_yellow_peel_bowl_towel_blue_table_picThe potassium, fiber, and B6 in bananas help restore lost electrolytes and balance hydration. Bananas have some anti-inflammatory properties too.

Chia Seeds

These tiny seeds pack in a lot of nutrition. Chia seeds are nutrient-dense super foods full of fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, protein, calcium, and iron. They also contain soluble and insoluble fiber which holds onto water, slowly releasing it during digestion to supply long-term hydration and energy.

Acai

These berries are extremely rich in antioxidants for a boost to energy and recovery. Try other berries too.

Quinoa

This ancient grain isn’t really a grain at all, but it still packs a ton of protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants into each tiny seed. Quinoa also offers a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids the body needs to build and repair muscle.

Turmeric

The spice found in curry carries some powerful antioxidants that ease pain, protect the body from damage, and reduce inflammation. It is very good for recovery.

Camu Camu

This odd tropical fruit contains high amounts of vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and protein.

Moringa

This Himalayan tree is a true superfood. The leaves contain all the essential amino acids along with rich amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, and B vitamins. It will boost stamina and strength, speed recovery, and replace lost carrots_roots_ground_soil_greens_orange_healthy_nutrition_picelectrolytes.

Carrots

Carrots are a rich source of vitamin A and E. Vitamin E plays a role in the efficient use of oxygen and in the transportation of blood to muscles. Carrots are also rich in fiber, antioxidants, and some complex carbohydrates.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides. These fats are shorter and more easily used by the body, so they are burned instead of stored to provide a boost to endurance. Coconut also combats infection and reduces inflammation. Try it externally to ease sore muscles and joints, and internally for energy, endurance, and a speedier recovery.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is another grain that supplies the body with fiber, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, proteins, and healthy fats for long term energy.

Sprouts

Sprouted seeds, nuts, and grains contain fewer phytates and enzyme inhibitors, compounds that plant foods use to resist digestion. Sprouted foods are more easily digested, and that nutrition is more available for the body to put to use as energy, to repair damage, and to build muscle.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is a natural electrolyte-rich beverage that doesn’t overdo the sodium or sugar. You do want some sodium though if you are working out hard. Try coconut water with a dash of sea salt, a little lime, and maybe a small amount of a natural sweetener.

Get more endurance tips and recipes!

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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