Energy Boosting Food

When runners think of energy boosting foods, their thoughts tend to turn first to things like sports drinks. However, there are plenty of more everyday energy boosting foods that can help get you revved up for your next run.

Can they really improve your performance?

The first rule of energy boosting foods is to get rid of the foods that drain your energy - that means junk foods, fizzy drinks, sweets and so on. These will wreck the best-laid diet plans, and leave you feeling lethargic.

In order to always feel ready to go, look to eat 5 or 6 small meals per day of these energy boosting foods, to ensure that your energy levels stay consistent.

The top five energy boosting foods are:

• Water: That might surprise you - water, after all, has no calories - but the reality is that your body cannot generate energy without water. It helps your body to digest, absorb and transport nutrients, so if you are dehydrated, you will also feel listless and lacking in energy. Aim to drink at least eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses of water a day.

• Bananas: Bananas are a great source of energy both before and after a workout. The sugar in bananas is an easily digested, and they are also packed with potassium, an electrolyte that helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function. If you aren't a fan of bananas, other good choices include apples, grapes, peaches and pineapple.

• Oatmeal: Oatmeal scores high on our energy-boosting food index because it is low on the glycaemic index, has lots of fibre, and is loaded with Vitamin B - Vitamin B helps the body to transform carbs into usable energy, so you get a steady flow of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. Good alternatives include other low-glycaemic carbs such as vegetables, whole-grain breads and pasta, and brown rice.

 Yoghurt: Low fat dairy foods like yoghurt are rich in magnesium, an essential mineral that helps the body to metabolise protein and carbohydrates. Alternatives include low-fat cheese, skimmed milk, and low-fat cottage cheese.

• Coffee: The caffeine in coffee blocks a chemical called adenosine that interferes with energy-boosting neurotransmitters. A cup or two of coffee will help you feel more energised and alert.