Fuel Up Right For Winter Running

When the mercury dips, and snow blows in, it's tempting to reach for your favorite savory - and not so healthy - comfort dishes. But in the winter, it's extra important that you fuel up with high-quality foods that will give you the energy you need to workout well, and help stave off coughs, colds, and other bugs that can proliferate in the winter and threaten to derail your running.

These foods, recommended by Pamela Nisevich Bede, a registered dietitian and sports nutrition expert with Swim, Bike, Run, Eat!, can help you stay healthy until spring arrives.

EAT: Apples

Get the benefit: Apples have fiber to keep you regular. They also contain Quercetin, which may reduce risk of coughs and colds.

EAT: Bananas

Get the benefit: Bananas have potassium, which helps with muscle contraction and help with hydration. It's easy to get dehydrated during long, dry winter runs.

EAT: 1 cup of Blueberries, Blackberries, or Raspberries

Get the benefit: Berries are a rich source of antioxidants, which help ward off disease and muscle soreness.

EAT: ½ cup Steel Cut Oats

Get the benefit: Oats have fiber, which helps prevent heart disease. They also contain beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol, plus protein, iron, fiber, calcium, folate, and vitamin A

EAT: Oranges

Get the benefit: Just one little orange contains 100% of daily allowance of vitamin C, which helps the immune system stay strong.

EAT: Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts

Get the benefit: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts contain disease-fighting and immune-boosting nutrients; and are rich in essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid, which can help ward off sniffles and sneezes.

EAT: 1 cup of Cranberries

Get the benefit: This filling, fiber-rich fruit can fill you up. And it contains disease-fighting nutrients that have been found to prevent infections like UTIs (urinary-tract infections) and even fight against cavities.

EAT: Kale

Get the benefit: With only 33 calories per cup, kale is packed with calcium, iron, potassium, and antioxidant vitamins like vitamins A, C, and K. Kale is also a great source of lutein, which effectively protects the eyes against macular degeneration and oxidative damage. This is especially important in the winter, as the sunlight can be even more harsh than in the summer.

EAT: Pomegranates

Get the benefit: Rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants, this fruit also contains properties that fight bacteria and viruses, which can help fight off your next bug. Pomegranate also contains unique antioxidants called polyphenols, which can be beneficial to those who are trying to control Type 2 diabetes.

EAT: Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Get the benefit: These nutrients fight inflammation. You can find EPA and DHA in fatty fish like cod, halibut, and salmon and enriched eggs. ALA can be found in flaxseeds; walnuts; canola, soybean, and flaxseed oils.