The Best And Worst Foods For Athletes
Being an elite athlete requires training day in and day out so it is crucial to recover well with foods that will help build and sustain strength, energy and assist with muscle repair. A healthy and balanced diet provides the fuel needed to keep you going throughout the day, and the wrong ones will set you back.
Here are 3 of the best and worst foods as an athlete:
Quinoa - Quinoa is a super whole grain that contains twice more protein than any other grain and is one of the only foods to contain all nine essential amino acids our bodies need to build lean muscle and recover from those intense workouts. It is also a great source of fibre and carbs.
Berries - Berries contain antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E which help prevent oxidative stress and muscle damage that comes from constant physical activity. They also help with preserving muscle strength. The darker the berry, the better!
Salmon - Oily fish is a great source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. This helps to reduce inflammation (which in the long run can contribute to chronic conditions like heart disease) and muscle soreness, and other pains that occur with strenuous training. It is also high it vitamin D, which helps maintain strong and healthy bones.
Soft Drink / Alcohol - Soft drink is full of calories but not of nutrients. It can cause lack of energy and poor athletic performance and in the long-term causes weight gain. Alcohol has a similar effect on the body, impacting your cells for around three days. Over indulging on alcohol can lead to slowed reaction times, decreased performance and increase the risk of injury such as muscle tears or heat stroke due to dehydration.
Protein Bars - Protein bars are a quick and easy source of nutrients but are highly processed and full of sugar and saturated fats. An over consumption of protein bars can lead to bone loss and over tax the kidneys. Long term, protein bars can be a contributing factor to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Stick with fruit and plain nuts!
Fast Food - Burgers and fries may provide an initial burst of energy when you first eat them, but quickly after your body will crash. Fast food has little nutrition and is loaded with trans fats and sugar. This can cause chemical imbalances in your body which increase chances of weight gain and often fatigue. Your body can become full of acidic and saturated fats which can lead to vitamin deficiencies and cancer. Most fast foods contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) which affects good mental health – a crucial factor from an elite athlete.
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