The Best Foods for An Athletes Performance
Athletes and their bodies are victims of a high level of stress, so a precise level of nutrition becomes extremely important.
23:01 27 July 2021
Sports fans watching NFL tonight may find themselves indulging in junk food that is often associated with those anticipating a great night of sporting action but have you ever wondered how the athletes you're watching deliver a high-intensity performance and look so good doing it? Well, a key aspect to any professional athletes' performance is their diet. Let us take a closer look into the nutrition required for an athlete to remain at the top of their game.
The easiest method to achieve the correct nutrition is by focusing on the five main good groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Each group contributes vital nutrients to your diet. Once these habits have been achieved, a professional dietitian will assist an athlete in fine-tuning the diet based on a person's individual needs.
Fruits & Vegetables
Well, you probably saw this one coming, and despite the lousy rap fruits and veg receive for their boringness – they are crucial to an athletes' needs and most sports stars are lost without them.
Combined, fruits and vegetables should construct half of your plate or 50% of each meal you eat. They supply vitamins, minerals, fibre, water, carbohydrates, and antioxidants, which will deliver hydration, digestion, energy, and recovery benefits. Starch-based vegetables like potatoes, peas, or corn should have a serving size of a fist, while the others should have two fists.
Researchers at a Belgian University proved that green vegetables like spinach are considered adequate for improving sports performance. Thirty athletes took part in an experiment in normal conditions and then hypoxic conditions. Following a 5-week trial, the composition of the muscle fibres had altered positively. The presence of nitrates allowed vasodilation and a greater flow for more accessible oxygen transport.
Protein sources provide the amino acids that your body cannot produce itself. Your body's vital functions like cell structure, chemical reactions, and muscle maintenance are assisted by the amino acids that serve as building blocks. Animal proteins are a complete source, but specific plant-based proteins can provide the essential amino acids. Lean animal products like fish and poultry should focus on the diet of athletes and should take up a third of the plate as a palm-size measurement.
Whole grains prioritize an athletes' diet because they're vitamin, mineral, and fibre content. However, the same can't be said for white/refine grain products. The sources of whole grains are rich in minerals, vitamins, fibre, and carbohydrates, providing substantial resources for elite-level activity and recovery. Depending on the training and the athlete's size, high-starch foods should be consumed in amounts of one/two fists per meal and mainly before exercise begins.
Dairy is compiled full of complete proteins, potassium, calcium, and carbohydrates. These combinations of varied nutrients give the necessary components for energy production, bone strength, and muscle contraction/recovery. Athletes should take 2-3 cups of low-fat dairy products per day.
One of the most popular dairy products amongst athletes is an egg. The egg is often accused of raising cholesterol, but high cholesterol mainly results from excessive body manufacture through a diet that's too rich in saturated fatty acids.
The interesting fact about eggs is that they boost performance at a special rate of proteins with a high biological value. Simply put, the egg is easily digested and perfectly utilized by the body. However, we do suggest your eggs are organic or eaten from chickens that are raised outdoors.
The Athletes Dish
The best nutrition can be completely flexible and personalized based on a taste preference and/or lifestyle. If you can follow the food groups mentioned above, you're on the right track to eating like an athlete. We recommend listening to your body's responses and approaching your diet by tweaking the foods you consume under each food group.
Choose the foods below to help build carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat to begin eating like an athlete.
- Starchy vegetables
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Brown or wild rice
- Whole eggs
- Lean red meats
- Greek yoghurt
- Olive or canola oil
- Peanut butter
- Flaxseed (for cooking)
- Nuts and seeds