Food is the fuel that helps athletes perform their best. Without it, endurance, strength and overall performance will be down. If you want to get the most out of your workouts and athletic capabilities, your diet should be a top priority in your fitness efforts.
As your body puts out energy through exercise and training, you need to replenish those lost nutrients, which can be done by choosing the right foods. Here are 14 of the best foods for athletes to optimize their performance at the gym or on the field.
Blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are just a handful of the delicious berries that are rich in antioxidants, which need to be replenished after physical activity. Darker seeds contain phytochemicals and other protective elements that prevent oxidative stress that occurs in the body during strenuous activities. They also preserve muscle strength as you age, so they’re suitable for the long term.
This oily fish is packed with lean, muscle-building protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the inflammation that can happen with regular athletic activity. It is also a natural artery cleanser, helping to prevent heart disease, which can affect even the most active people. Get creative and enjoy salmon in burgers, salads or pasta to get the recommended eight ounces serving per week.
Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can get their fill of plant-based protein by eating beans and legumes. Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans… the varieties are endless! You can add them to a salad or cook them into a stew or chilli. Unlike meat, grains and legumes don’t have saturated fat and contain fibre, which will help you feel fuller longer.
Not all carbs are bad! They’re an essential part of the athlete’s diet. While the body burns fat and protein, it must first convert them into carbohydrates, making the bodywork harder. Straight carbs act as a fuel for the active person. Keep in mind that pasta contains fibre, which can cause gastrointestinal stress, so don’t overdo it before a big event where you’ll be competing or playing. Whole grain pasta typically contains less sugar than white pasta, which can also help athletic performance.
Bananas are a low-calorie, excellent source of natural electrolytes, which need to be replaced after a workout or sporting event. They’re also high in potassium, which makes them the perfect post-event snack. Eating one banana will help you regulate your fluid intake (since you’re drinking more water before, after and during physical exertion). It will also protect you from muscle spasms or cramps.
Milk (Even Chocolate Milk!)
Milk is loaded with carbs and protein, which makes it a great post-workout drink for muscle recovery. The caffeine found in chocolate dilates the blood vessels, helping them to relax after a workout. Interestingly enough, when carbs and protein are consumed together, muscle tissues repair themselves more quickly than they do when destroyed separately!
Radishes, watermelon, ringer peppers, spinach, celery, dates and oranges are only a bunch of the reviving nourishments you can eat to renew your lost liquids. In case you’re burnt out on bringing down water bottles (not that you shouldn’t), decide on one of these tidbits to feel invigorated in the wake of working out.
Yams are plentiful in nutrients An and C, the two cancer prevention agents that expel free radicals from your body. They lower circulatory strain, which is significant for competitors to their heart wellbeing while partaking in sports. They’re high in nutrient and mineral substance and contain the degrees of potassium, iron, manganese and copper competitors requirement for solid muscles.