What Are the Benefits of Eggs for Runners?

by Erica Kannall

Bowl filled with brown eggs

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Eating eggs from chickens provides benefits for runners ranging from maintaining muscle mass to improving recovery after a run. Eggs may even help you prevent injury and maintain your energy level during a run thanks to the vitamins and minerals they contain. However, even though eggs provide numerous benefits, they are high in cholesterol. Limit yourself to one to two eggs per day.

Supplies Protein

Minor injury occurs to your muscle fibers every time you run. You need dietary protein to repair the muscles, aid in muscle recovery and increase the size of your muscles. A single egg provides 6 grams of dietary protein. The International Society of Sports Nutrition notes that people who engage in regular exercise need 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. If you engage in endurance exercise, such as running, take the low end of this protein range. Based on these recommendations, a 150-pound adult runner needs between 95 and 136 grams of protein per day. Timing protein eating either immediately before or just after exercise may help preserve muscle mass and aid in muscle recovery.

Contains Iron

Runners also benefit from the iron in eggs. A 2012 article published in the ''American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine'' notes that inadequate iron levels can negatively affect sports performance, energy metabolism and immune function. Iron is an essential part of the hemoglobin molecule and plays a role in transporting oxygen to your cells, helping keep your exercising muscles fueled while running. Without enough, you may develop anemia and feel fatigued during everyday activities or while running. Eating one large egg supplies you with 0.72 milligrams of iron. The Office of Dietary Supplements notes that women over 50 years old and all adult men need at least 8 milligrams of iron daily. Women under 50 need about 18 milligrams per day.

Source of Phosphorus

The impact of running puts stress on your joints and bones. One way to make sure your bones are at optimal density and health is by getting enough phosphorus. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 85 percent of all phosphorus in the body is found in bones and teeth. It also plays a role in energy metabolism and waste filtration. Adequate phosphorus intake may even reduce muscle pain after a hard run. Eating one large egg gives you 89 milligrams of phosphorus, which is 13 percent of the recommended daily intake for adults.

Provides B Vitamins

Adequate intake of B vitamins also helps you perform at your best when running. Eggs contain the B vitamins riboflavin, pantothenic acid, B-6, B-12 and folate. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, these vitamins help metabolize energy, form red blood cells, bring adequate oxygen to cells and keep your heart healthy. Your needs for these vitamins may even increase if you exercise at a high intensity. Without enough, you may develop muscle cramps, fatigue, anemia or respiratory problems.

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About the Author

Erica Kannall is a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She has worked in clinical nutrition, community health, fitness, health coaching, counseling and food service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in clinical dietetics and nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.