Athletes do a lot of things to ensure that their overall performance is not below standard. Basically, they work out as often as possible and they stick to certain types of meals. These meals and workout routines/training give them so much endurance, strength, and the general ability to meet up with their career expectations.
Talking about diet, what types of foods are best for athletes? Foods that will help in replenishing lost nutrients, and fitness efforts. Below are the 10 best foods that can help athletes succeed in their career.
1. Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts come with a lot of health benefits that can help your athletic career. They offer a notable amount of protein, vitamins, magnesium, fats, and fiber, to mention but a few. They are not such a good source of carbohydrates, so you may not want to count on them to give you the energy you need. But you can count on them when it comes to the antioxidants which can protect your cells from bad cholesterol damages caused by free radicals in the body.
Seeds and nuts are also good with weight loss, fighting against cancer, reducing inflammation, and ensuring a healthy digestive process.
Cheese is a dairy product. So it contains a lot of those nutrients you’ll find in milk or other dairy products but in different amounts. One of the greatest finds in cheese is calcium and protein. The calcium found in cheese helps your bone to be stronger and able to stand against more pressure. It also helps it to heal if you have any bone fracture or dislocation issues.
The protein content of cheese helps in muscle development and replenishing your energy stored in the body. The more muscles you develop through sports, the higher your endurance.
Beans (or any other legumes of your choice) is an athlete-friendly food. You may already know that it is a good source of plant protein, and that is exactly why you should eat plenty of it to replenish your body with this special type of protein. You may also want to know that beans can provide you with sustainable energy. It has a low glycemic index, and as such, it is slow to digest thereby offering sustainable energy.
Beans are also high in fiber, good for the heart, rich in vitamins and minerals, and are also a good source of energy to fuel up your performance.
4. Sweet Potatoes
All athletes want to get better, stronger, and faster. Eating a good quantity of sweet potatoes can help you achieve all of that and even more in your athletic career. They contain complex carbohydrate, which is a very good source of calories.
Eating it before working out is a great way to increase your energy. Eating it right after working out will help replace stored energy which was used during the workout session. Sweet potatoes also contain minerals like iron which is very effective in improving endurance; and vitamins for protecting the cell membranes from oxidative damages.
5. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables are usually very rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can help you boost your energy as an athlete. Be it kale, broccoli, spinach, or cauliflower, dark green vegetables contain minerals and other nutrients that can help fight the body against inflammation.
Orange is a very good source of sports energy any day or time. As a matter of facts, professional footballers take oranges during their half-time break to help them recover lost nutrients and get ready for the next half time.
The vitamin C contents of orange is a strong antioxidant that can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. It is also helpful in fighting high blood pressure and improving iron absorption. It provides athletes with a lot of strength and stamina.
Athletes suffer a lot of inflammation as a result of their performance and training, so that’s not a big deal. The big deal is when they don’t do anything to heal the inflammation or reduce its probability of happening in the first place. Eating salmon can provide the body with nutrients that can help it fight inflammation and other health complications like heart diseases and high blood pressure.
Pills are great, but eating fish is a better way to stock up on your lean protein and omega-3 supply. Experts warn that organic foods are always better than taking pills or any processed foods.
Pasta is very high in carbohydrate, and that is the single most important reason why it should be part of every athlete’s diet. Carbohydrates are so important that lack of it will force the body to produce energy from other indirect sources in the body like fat and protein. As an athlete, you need carb just like a car needs fuel.
Any pasta that has a high calorie can do, but if you have a choice, it is better to go for whole grain pasta. This is because they have more fiber and less added sugar than refined ones. You may want to eat pasta at least a night before a big athletic event because it may cause you gastrointestinal distress if you eat it shortly before your performance.
It does not matter what type of milk you choose to take, just make sure you take milk every day to help you meet up with your nutritional demands and calorie needs. Milk is loaded with carbs and protein which are good to fuel your energy for your athletic performance and to strengthen your muscles to take as much strain as possible without weighing you down.
Milk also contains calcium and vitamin D for building and maintaining strong bones. Calcium is also good for the heart, and when combined with vitamin D, it goes beyond the bones to protect the body against health complications like cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. This combination also helps to maintain the phosphorus level in the blood, which in effect helps the bone to stay stronger.
Banana is one of the fruits that should be in every athlete’s diet. It is organic, contains a lot of nutrients, and is such a powerhouse of energy. Taking it right after a performance can help to facilitate recovery given to its high potassium content. Athletes lose a lot of potassium during their performance through sweating, and eating a medium size banana can help them recover as much as 422 mg of potassium within minutes. Also, banana helps your body to regulate fluid and prevent muscle cramps and spasm.
As an athlete, keep it in mind that eating for athletic performance is not a fair weather business. It is something you have to be conscious of in every meal and snacks. Try the best you can to stay away from factory manufactured foods and go for meals that are natural.