Nutrition & Mental Health For Better Running Performance


Since the dawn of civilization, all cultures take stock of nutrition. It is only reasonable then that the scientific community directs so many resources towards the research of that crucial link between athletic performance, nutrition, and mental health. Even individuals that partake in recreational activity now and then need to pay close attention to what they eat to achieve peak performance and keep their mood up.

The holy triangle of food, mind, and body

The connection between food and mental health is well established for centuries, but when you add running performance and athleticism into the equation, things get a little trickier. One of the most important nutritional tips you will get from all experienced runners is to consume foods that are known to encourage reduced chronic inflammation, which is particularly crucial during the days of intense exercises.

If you overwork your body, the inflammation in your joints and muscles can reach its peak, and this is when it will begin affecting your mood. Many avid athletes became moody or even depressed because they didn’t consume enough water and food that reduces inflammation. In this group of foods, garlic, ginger, olive oil, leafy greens, dark-red berries and, if you consume meat, fatty fish – these are especially noteworthy. Combined with magnesium-rich sparkly water and regular intake of 8 plain water glasses a day, you should be able to keep your head above water.


Mental health – food connection

However, inflammation and tiredness are not the only factors that can contribute to mental issues if left unchecked. Studies have proven that food and mental health connection runs deep, and lack of certain vitamins can lead to serious conditions such as depression. Keep in mind that, as you work for better running performance, you are effectively spending a lot of vitamin-mineral fuel and you need to replenish it as quickly as possible.

For example, a deficiency of vitamin B complex can easily lead you down the spiral of irritability, chronic fatigue and, ultimately, depression. The same goes for the deficiency of vitamin D, which means that you should not cower from the sunny outdoors. Iron, selenium, and magnesium are also anti-depressive fundamentals and, when combined with foods rich in vitamin C and Zinc, you will not only have a strength of body and will to achieve the best running performance but also have a fortified immunity that can endure through anything.

Foods that directly affect your running performance

The ketogenic diet has become quite popular and many people achieve wonderful results by simply taking carbs out of the equation and doubling down on lean protein, fruits, and veggies. While it holds in any case that you should avoid widespread pastry which is infused with harmful sugars and chemicals, whole grains are certainly your best friend if you want to run better, faster and longer.


A reliable oatmeal in the morning can easily prep you for a day of heavy training. You can, for example, combine it with a flavored whey-protein and use plain water to create an oatmeal porridge that is as tasty as it is healthy. Of course, some runners fall back on combining yogurt with their whole grains, which is equally efficient. Fermented dairy products are not the same as your regular milk, butter, and other derivatives, and high-quality brands can be beneficial even for lactose-intolerant people.

Furthermore, if you feel as if you still try to avoid carbs in general, you can always have several emergency bananas in your fridge, and consume this wonderful energy booster that is as rich in healthy plant carbs as can be.

There’s also some amazing news for aspiring runners that cannot seem to get enough of natural stimulants such as chocolate and coffee: these are highly nutritious, high-energy foods recommended for athletes that are trying to break new ground when it comes to running performance. Of course, keep in mind that you should limit yourself to dark chocolate.


Nutrition, mental health, and athletic performance are the holy trinity of well-being that needs to be held in perfect balance. This balancing act can be tricky now and then, especially in the age when individuals resort to eating anything to keep them going through the hectic workday. However, you should regard the time spent on proper food preparation as sort of an investment into your future, because proper nutrition represents a primary cornerstone of stability that supports mental health and better athletic performance in equal measure.


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