Building and following the right food habit is important for all of us. When it comes to athletes, food is the fuel that helps them achieve peak performance day after day. Without proper food, their strength, endurance, and overall performance will never reach the desired level. If you are an athlete looking to get the most out of your athletic capabilities and workouts, the diet must be one of your top priorities.
While undergoing exercise and training, the human body loses energy. Replenishment of these lost nutrients is extremely important, and this can only be done by consuming the right kind of food. Mentioned below are some of the best foods that can help athletes achieve optimum performance on the field or at the gym.
Berries: A number of berries including blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are rich sources of antioxidants. After physical activities, it is important to replenish antioxidants in the human body. During any strenuous activity, there is oxidative stress in the body. Darker berries contain different protective elements including phytochemicals that are capable of preventing the body from oxidative stress. Berries are also effective in preserving the strength of the muscles as we age.
Nuts: Nuts are one of the mainstays in the diet of any athlete. Nuts are plant-based proteins high in healthy fats. They are also rich sources of antioxidants like vitamin E and fiber. Due to the presence of anti-inflammatory nutrients, nuts are great for the bone health of any athlete. They also help reduce bad cholesterol, improving our heart health.
Salmon: This is an oily fish that contains omega-3 fatty acids and muscle building lean protein. Continual athletic activity often leads to inflammation, which can be controlled to a great extent by omega-3 fatty acids. Heart diseases can also be prevented by omega-3 fatty acids because of its efficiency as a natural artery cleaner. Salmon is also known for its delicious taste, and it can be enjoyed in pasta, salads, or burgers.
Calciferous Vegetables: Dark, leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, and kale, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower are rich sources of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that help boost athletic abilities. Calciferous vegetables also have high amounts of calcium, iron, and vitamins A, K, and B6. All of these are highly effective in reducing inflammation. Iron plays a critical role for athletes because it helps the muscles receive more oxygen. Carotenoids and flavonoids are extremely powerful antioxidants capable of lowering cholesterol. Both are abundant in kale.
Milk: Milk is excellent for post-workout muscle recovery because it is loaded with carbs and protein. Chocolate milk is also a good post-workout drink because chocolate contains caffeine, which helps the blood vessels to relax by dilating them. Interestingly, compared to consuming carbs and protein separately, the muscle tissues can repair themselves much faster when they are consumed together.
Garlic: Garlic is considered to be a super food because it benefits the human body in many different ways. Recent studies have established that garlic is an anti-inflammatory that can provide relief from inflamed joints or muscles. It also has a positive impact on our blood pressure and arteries. Raw garlic provides maximum health benefits. If you can’t tolerate the smell, consider adding chopped or minced garlic in hot water to make tea.
Oatmeal: This is another must-have in any athlete’s diet chart. As it is high in fiber, it helps feel fuller for a longer period of time. Being 100% whole grain, it also reduces the risk of heart diseases. This is an excellent option for athletes looking to gain weight in a healthy manner. As opposed to instant oats with a higher glycemic index, it is better to opt for steel-cut oats.