Nutrition is essential to an athlete because it provides the athlete with the required nutrients and energy one needs to train and for general performance. On average, most athletes burn between 2000-10000 calories a day, depending on the intensity of their work out. This is way more than what an average person burns in a whole week! This goes to show just how important sports nutrition is in ensuring the excellent performance of the athlete, as well as their physical fitness.
Berries such as raspberries and blackberries are very rich in antioxidants that help prevent oxidative stress that occur every time an athlete engages in strenuous physical activities. Always go for darker berries as they have more phytochemicals. Berries also help to preserve muscle strength as you age, therefore good not just for short terms needs but even way after the athlete retires.
Bananas require no special handling and can be consumed almost anywhere. (Make sure to dispose of the peels at the appropriate place). They are one of the favorite fruits for athletes because they boost and provide quality carbohydrates before exercise or prepare for recovery after training. They are also rich in potassium, an element crucial for muscle recovery and cramp reduction.
3. Dark chocolates
Yes, you had that right! Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium and antioxidants that help fight against free radicals. It is also an anti-stress and could have a beneficial effect on cramping. Theobromine, present in the chocolate helps to stimulate the nervous system. So the next time you crave for a bar of chocolate, don’t feel guilty!
Salmon contains omega 3 that helps improve neuromuscular function and reduces fatigue, thus help to improve your performance. Since it reduces inflammation, it enables the athlete to engage in a continual athletic activity for longer. Eating salmon about twice a week also helps prevent cardiovascular diseases and encourages brain development.
As an athlete, a healthy amount of carbohydrate is important to an athlete since they are a source of fuel that an athlete needs. For you to reap more benefits from eating pasta, go for brown pasta, which is more abundant in fiber and has less added sugars. However, it would be best if you did not eat pasta the night before or a few hours to a big competition since fiber takes a while to go through the system, and it can cause gastrointestinal stress.
6. Beans and Legumes
Whether you are a vegetarian or not, adding beans and legumes to your diet is very important. Plant-based nutrients are a must-have for all athletes. Beans do not have saturated fat like animal-based protein and are also a good source of fiber, which can help keep you feeling fuller for longer. However, they are not a favorite among many people, so you should come up with creative ways to incorporate them into your meals. For instance, you could add them to your salad or make a three-bean chili. There is so much one can do.
Nuts contain a healthy combination of proteins and healthy fats, both of which are crucial to an athlete’s diet. They are also easy to digest and help to balance the blood sugar. They also provide athletes with the nutrients they need and highly contribute to increasing performance.
Talent, skills, and hard work are not the only elements that define a successful athlete. A healthy diet is vital, there is no other way around it.