To be a successful sportsman or woman, it is important to eat the right foods. The right nutrition is the foundation in any athlete engaged in sports regardless of the nature of the sport. Games that require lots of mental engagement like chess, also require the players to eat the right diet. Don’t forget that the brain needs energy to think to make the right moves.
Good nutrition for an athlete aims at hydrating and fueling pre, during, and post exercise. If planned properly, sports nutrition can help promote optimal training and performance. Inconsistency in a proper nutrition plan can derail training and hamper performance.
Walk with me as we take a look into the right foods that will help the athlete in fuelling adequately, hydrating and also promoting muscle repair and growth from exercises.
As a sportsman or woman the basics starts from eating a balanced diet which is as basic as taking carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Each of the food group is equally important and none is lesser or more important than the other. It is, therefore, important to strike a healthy balance in your diet to ensure optimal fueling of the athletic body.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the human body. Carbohydrates can be classified as either simple or complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbs include sugars naturally found in foods like fruits, vegetables, and milk. On the other hand, whole grain bread, potatoes, most vegetables, and oats are examples of healthy complex carbs. The digestive system does the breakdown of carbs into glucose or blood sugar hence feeding energy to your cells, tissues, and organs.
Carbs are not only a vital source of energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber but is also important for healthier blood cholesterol levels; and lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Whole grain cereals such as breads and pasta, fruits, vegetables and beans are some healthy choices for sourcing carbohydrates.
Protein forms the building blocks for muscle and tissue repair. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the basic structure compounds and are essential to each single cell of the human body. We have two types of proteins; complete or incomplete. The complete protein contains all the amino acids needed by the body, and predominantly include animal sources like meat, fish, poultry and milk.
Incomplete protein sources (typically plant-based proteins), often lacks one or more of the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids can’t be made by the body and must be supplied by food. Chiefly, protein plays an important role in muscle recovery and growth.
Fish, poultry, lean meats, dairy foods, seeds, nuts, beans and eggs are just but a few choices of sources available for protein.
Proteins build up your muscle and repair worn out tissues from work out and play roles in digestion, metabolism, and immune function. Proteins also complement carbs to boost the rate of recovery after exercise.