Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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My personal health goal is to eat healthier foods and consume less junk food. As a runner, I realize that this is very important for me if I wish to achieve maximum results. In considering where to look for advice on good food choices, I decided that the best place to look would be in Runner's World Magazine. Sure enough, in the January 2001 issue I found an article titled Kitchen Think. The article gave helpful advice for my goal.

The first thing mentioned was that fat should be an important aspect of every runner's diet. It is something that cannot be left out, but should be properly balanced. Only 30-35% of total calories should come from fat, which does not mean a ton of sugary snacks like candy. Helpful fats include nuts, olive oil, avocados, peanut butter, olives, and anchovies.

Protein is also a key part to any person's diet, especially a runner's.

It is a factor commonly left out, but important. While protein plays no major role in providing energy, its major job is in the building and maintaining of muscle, an essential element. It was stated that runners have higher protein needs than non-runners. Good sources of protein include meat, poultry, low-fat dairy products, fish, eggs, beans, and soybean products.

Fiber is also an important part of a healthy diet. Fiber can decrease the amount of fat absorbed by your body and can also help keep you "regular" in your waste products. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some fiber, soluble fiber, such as in apples and bananas, can actually lower heart disease risk. Other fiber, insoluble, can decrease colon-cancer risk. Both types of fiber are necessary for optimal health.

A necessary part of every person's diet is calcium. While dairy...