by Jarah Broc - A post-run meal is vital, and you ought to include whole grains in the menu. According to healthcare journalist Erin Heger in an Insider feature on what to eat post-run, eating after running is just as important as eating before running. That’s because running depletes your glycogen reserves (reducing your source of energy in the process), causes you to lose water and electrolytes (making you vulnerable to dehydration), and subjects your body to some wear and tear (especially your leg muscles and feet).

After every run, therefore, you will need to:

• Replenish your glycogen reserves by consuming carbs.

• Replenish lost fluids and electrolytes by drinking water (or an energy drink for long, intense runs).

• Repair and build up your muscles through protein intake.

You can do all that with a post-run meal, which you should take, ideally, within 30 minutes after finishing your run (so that the body can maximize it). That said, what you eat matters just as much in this post-run window, and what you should be eating in this case is a meal with lots of carbs and some protein, plus a glass or two of water. And yes, a meal of whole grains ticks all the boxes, with an article on whole grains by the Whole Grains Council noting how these superfoods are high nutrient content. All whole grains, in fact, are great sources of carbs, making them great for energy replenishment. All of them are also fiber-rich, which means they can promote healthy digestion.

Crucially, most whole grains, like oats, amaranth, quinoa, and millet, are actually good sources of protein, making them ideal for muscle recovery and repair. And the amount of protein in whole grains would is actually enough in the context of a day's worth of protein consumption. Recall how the previous post 'Athlete’s Kitchen - Sports Nutrition: Fads, Facts and Fallacies' outlines how the protein requirement of runners is about 0.5−0.75 gram of protein per pound of body weight, which equates to 70−105 grams for a 140-pound runner. Now, you won't get that much protein with one whole grain meal, but you'll get 10−20 grams easy from a bowl of whole grain treats such as oatmeal and quinoa. Add that to your protein intake for the rest of the day and you'll probably have enough to give your muscles the nourishment they need.

In addition, whole grains will give your body servings of other essential nutrients. Notably, whole grains contain:

• B vitamins, which are crucial for improved brain functioning

• Magnesium, which can ease inflammation

• Iron, which helps improve blood health

• Phosphorus, which is crucial for tissue repair and growth

• Zinc, which enhances metabolism


On top of all that, there’s another practical reason why whole grains are a great post-run meal: They’re mostly easy to prepare. In fact, you can even cook whole grain treats using only some water and a modern rice cooker. An Aroma rice cooker is known for being highly advanced and multi-functional. These features make it great not only for cooking rice flawlessly, but also for cooking other treats, including even meat and, of course, whole grains. This steel-cut oats recipe from The New York Times is a great example:

1. Put oats into your rice cooker.

2. Add 3−4 cups, plus a pinch of kosher salt.

3. Turn the rice cooker and wait for 10−15 minutes.

4. Add 'toppings' such as roasted nuts or fresh greens.

Perhaps just as important, there are numerous types of whole grains to choose from, which means you won't be stuck with the same post-run meal every time. You can even add vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other healthy food to improve each meal's taste and nutritional value. So, the next time you go for a run, consider a post-run meal of whole grains to rejuvenate you and get your body right.

Article written exclusively for runohio.com

By Jarah Broc

More from this Author:

in an Insider feature on what to eat post-run

an article on whole grains by the Whole Grains Council

the previous post 'Athlete’s Kitchen - Sports Nutrition: Fads, Facts
and Fallacies'

Aroma rice cooker

steel-cut oats recipe from The New York Times

Thank you for your patience, Matt. Stay safe and healthy.