Healthy Diet for Athletes

Healthy diet is essential for athletes. It is not only the quantity of food ingested, but the quality and balance of foodchoices that matters. There are some indispensable nutrients which should be taken regularly. Read on for healthy dietary tips.  Want muscles?  Good nurtition and exercise are necessary.

Along with training, proper stretching and specific exercises, what matters most to athletes is a careful and planned intake of various nutrients like  vitamins,, proteins and carbohydrates. An intelligent athlete should know the importance of balanced workouts, exercises and  the intake of the necessary nutrients.

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Diets for athletes differ according to the sports they are involved in.

A diet for a sprinter is different from the diet of a weight lifter. An athlete should also know which food and drink items he or she needs to avoid, as wrong intake of nutrients restricts the growth of body tissues. During a workout, there is wear and tear of cells in muscles. To  build muscles , adequate nutrients in the diet are required. Some important nutrients for athletes are:

 

Proteins
Protein is very vital for athletes, however the focus should not be on protein alone. Excess protein and not enough complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables should be be avoided because it puts too much pressure on the kidneys and may also lead to dehydration. Proteins help in building muscle tissues. The main source of protein should ideally come from lean meat. 15 – 20% of protein intake in a day is sufficient for an athlete.

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates provide quick and long-lasting energy, but too much of it can slow you down. 40 – 50% of carbohydrate calories should come from whole grain pasta, cereals and breads. This type of diet is rich in fiber. Carbohydrates also increase the stamina and ability to work.

Fats
Active young athletes require fat in their diet. Their bodies need unsaturated fat, e.g. nuts. When the body runs out of energy from carbohydrates, it relies on long term energy provided by fats. Fish is a very good source of fat.

Vitamins
Exercising produces some free radicals which can damage our cells. Hence, to minimize this damage we need to take Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. These vitamins are antioxidants and neutralize the free radicals. Green tea is an excellent antioxidant as well with additional benefits.  It is a good idea to use green tea and many    athletes use green tea    for faster fat burning, increased metabolism and speedier recovery.

green tea can be a part of healthy diet for athlete, picture

Minerals
Minerals like calcium and iron are good for health. Calcium strengthens the bones thus preventing stress fractures that are common in athletes. Skimmed milk, milk products and eggs are rich in calcium. Iron produces oxygen in the body. Deficiency of iron leads to fatigue and hinders the ability to perform for longer periods.

A basic table for the amount of nutrients to be taken is given below.

Nutrients Amount (of total calories) Source
Carbohydrates 50 – 60% Whole grains, whole wheat pasta, potatoes and beans
Proteins 15 – 20% Fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds
Fats 25 – 30% Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, meat and eggs

6 Healthy Tips For Athletes

1. One of the biggest nutritional concern for athletes is water depletion, which occurs due to heavy and strenuous training, and causes dehydration. Dehydration in athletes and in general leads to weakness. Drinking lots of  water is the only remedy. Please avoid deminerilized water like Dasani and Aquafina. Bottled spring water with pH 7 and more is  OK. Some Ahletes thrive on and highly recommend Kangen Water.

2. Athletes need more calories than people who do not exercise. Intake of healthy snacks before a workout will provide the required energy. Some people feel very hungry after a workout, hence eating a good snack will not only provide necessary nutrients but also keep you from overeating during the main meal. Some healthy snacks are apple and banana slices, peanut butter, dry cereals with dry fruit, vegetable juice, whole grain and low-fat milk. Junk foods and fast foods are a strict “NO”

3. Eating regularly is very important. Athletes should take 5 small meals rather than 2 or 3 heavy meals. They should avoid snacking during day time, especially during an event or a workout. First two meals of the day are very crucial and should be large as compared to other meals of the day.

4. Timing of meals should be taken care of. If one is having a heavy meal, then it should be ensured that the meal is taken at least 4 hours before the workout. And if the meal is a lighter one, it can be taken 2 or 3 hours before the workout.

5. Vary your meal components  and make sure you use a balanced diet menu. Never stick to a limited diet. Sometimes, the athletes prefer a particular food and stick to it. This has two demerits: Firstly, you get bored of the diet, and secondly, eating the same diet will devoid your body of the various nutrients it needs.

6. Last and one of the biggest concerns of athletes today, is alcohol consumption. Nancy Clark, founder and CEO of WomensMedia, says “You can’t be sharp, quick and drunk.” Alcohol, a depressant, contributes about twice as many calories as equal amount of carbohydrates and proteins. It is needless to say, that calories in beer are fattening. If taken in large amount, alcohol can drastically decrease the level of serum testosterone which results in decrease in muscle recovery and athletic performance. It can cause testicular shrinkage and reduce the sperm count in males. In female athletes, it may raise the production of estradiol, a form of estrogen, which can increase the chances of breast cancer.

Athletes Require More Nutrients

Athletes generally require more nutrients than people who are not athletes.

Athletes lose a lot of nutrients when they sweat.

Eating foods rich in empty calories can deprive the organs of vital vitamins and minerals. This can increase the risk of heart attacks in athletes. Just as high octane fuel is good for motor vehicles, a good healthy diet is beneficial for athletes.  A sound mind and a sound body is a necessary combination without which it is impossible to achieve a real success.

Never underestimate the importance of healthy diet for athletes.

By Sourabh Gupta

Watch the video below: Healthy Diet For Young Athletes

Hydration And Healthy Diet For Athletes

Hydration plays  a very impotrant part in healthy diet for athletes. Healthy diet includes proper and plentyful hydration which helps improve fitness and overall athletic performance. Drinking plenty of pure water and other healthy liquids like    Green Tea    is also an essential key to faster after performance recovery.

With the evolution of the extreme sports concept, the topic of sports nutrition has gained a lot of importance and attention from the athletes as well as from the media. The professional athletes performing in extreme sports hold an elevated status in society and this realization has pushed lots of initiatives to produce the latest and most effective in sports nutrition.

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During the old days, athletes have relied steadily on the carefree formula of fast-food fare and energy drinks.

Now that competition is growing more and more intense each day, athletes are acquiring the expertise of sports science experts to make sure that they can maximize their physical and mental potentials to its outmost limits and perform at their best.

To illustrate the significance and importance of proper hydration, let’s take an example of the motorcycle sport, which is one of the most popular extreme sports around.

A motorcycle rider, among other skills, needs to exhibit a lot of courage as he takes in a lot of punishment in his body. Because of this, a rider must consider his overall physical fitness as much as his technical skills in competitions. Establishing adequate hydration levels and keeping the physical stamina is a must in order to keep up with the rigors of the motorcycle events.

Forget winning, it is not really easy even to participate and survive in a 20-30 minute contest under the most brutal conditions, such as shocks from the bumps and extreme heat. Managing and overcoming severe heat is one of the most difficult factors in any kind of sport.

In a typical motorcycle contest, if one monitors the vital signs of the athletes, one can easily observe that their heart-rates perform at the maximum level and their body tries its best to cope up with the demand of the situation.

Since motorcycling sport involves competing in adverse surroundings under very extreme temperatures, thermoregulation and hydration are the major concerns.

Riders are faced with almost no time to hydrate themselves because a typical motorcycle event lasts about only 20-45 minutes. It is very important then that motorcycle riders monitor their consumption of fluids closely days before the competition, paying close attention to those days when practices are held up to the qualifying rounds during the weekend before the main event.

Days before the competition itself, riders must take fluids, especially pure water, consistently in order to achieve and maintain a steady hydration level prior to the main event.  Green tea helps protect  against oxidative stress and speed up muscle fatigue recovery.

Motorcycle riders involved in heavy competition should strive to consume 20-40 ounces of liquid every hour during his time at the racetrack and must continue drinking about 20 ounces per hour after the track session. To effectively monitor hydration levels of a rider, he can weigh himself on the scales every morning and do so again after every session.

Two percent of the total body weight, and not more than that, should be eliminated, and it must be replaced with 150 percent of the water reduced on that day in order to achieve maximum performance for next day’s session.

A slight decrease in fluids can already have an effect on an athlete’s performance, specifically on the force capability of the muscles.

The stamina and hydration levels in the body form the basis for fine performance in any motor cross championship. And the one, who strikes off a perfect balance of fluids, nutrition and water in his intake, can manipulate and maneuver his bike at very high levels, even at the most stressful of situations.

That’s why it’s extremely important for athletes not to overlook the aspect of drinking water and other fluids in their diet and nutrition. It is that crucial factor that can make or break the athletes road to victory.

By Chris M

 

Athlete Nutrition Guidelines, Healthy Muscle Gain

The goal of virtually every athlete is to give their body the necessary nutrition which will help them  gain muscle for best performance  and keep the body lean and free of excess weight. It can be achieved through healthy diet for weight loss and muscle gain.

In my experience as a trainer and athlete coach I have found these nutrition guidelines to be of great help.

Proper Nutrition For Athletes should include the following 8 items

Pure Water

Simply outstanding. My home town is in the tropics and I realize that our tropical climate makes water requirements even higher than usual.

benefits of drinking water illustrated, young athlete

Every other beverage is inferior so you really don’t need anything else. Even low levels of dehydration (1% of bodyweight lost in sweat) cause big drops in performance and health. Having water on hand makes you less likely to drink other nonsense drinks.

Benefits Of Drinking Water

Water improves flexibility and muscle tissue quality. It also lubricates joints and is good for your skin health and appearance. Water aids digestion and is essential for cellular level chemical processes. Drinking regularly will help prevent overeating. Cold water even burns a couple more calories each day (which does add up in the long run).

Performance wise, proper water intake will reduce cramping. In my experience, I have found that the key component for preventing my athletes from cramping during competition is not fancy sports supplements or magic foods.

The key is hydration. Colored urine is a no-no for any of my guys. Once they learn how effective this simple strategy is I don’t need to nag anymore. Bring pure water with you everywhere and drink constantly. More pee breaks are a decent tradeoff for the huge amount of benefits that water gives you. Bring clean water around with you everywhere. Uh…the bottle is for water so that you are reminded to drink enough.

Unprocessed Meat

I want to be clear that you must really see that the meat is from a natural source not a processed one, and for that it’s helpful to think of meat as animals. If you are seeing a piece of chicken, you can imagine that it was once a living, breathing animal. This is harder to do when you see a chicken cracker or chicken sausage which are vastly inferior to actual piece of chicken.

Get lean cuts of meat. Animal fat is saturated and gets you those dreaded heart complications if you eat too much of it. Lean cuts of any meat are really great sources of protein. Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, deer, ostrich. Yup all good. If possible go for the grass fed or “free range” meats because they have a better omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. But if that’s too expensive on inaccessible then its not the end of the world. Get the regular meat and make up the ratio via healthy omega-3 fats like fish oils and flax seeds.

Eggs

Top notch source of protein. Minimal saturated fat (only 1.5g per egg compare this with 10-15g per hamburger patty). I can’t believe there are even doctors and nutritionists that tell us 2 eggs per week are all out bodies can handle. Parents say “no eggs kids, they are dangerous” but let’s go to a fast food restaurant and eat jumbo sized triple patty burgers…hard to figure out, but happens all the time. Did you know that the saturated fat in one hamburger patty is equal to that in 8-10 eggs?

Personally I eat about 6 eggs on average per day. Whenever I take a blood test, my good cholesterol is high and my total cholesterol is at the low end of normal. Eggs… they’re fantastic!

Nuts

High in monounsaturated fat. This means less heart disease, faster metabolic rate and better testosterone levels. Nuts are also high in fiber and taste really good. Keep away from the fried, oiled or salted ones. Get them raw and toast them yourself. They taste great and are a great healthy snack. Different nuts have different ratios of fat types, so eat a variety of types. Macadamias, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios – all good.

proper nutrition for athletes includes nuts, illustration

Natural peanut butter is included in this category. Get those from supermarkets where they grind the nuts for you on the spot. The slight increase in cost is probably worth it over the overly sugared, artificial fat laden regular peanut butter.

Olive Oil

Also a great source of healthy fat. Olive oil raises good cholesterol, contains vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, reduces risk of colon cancer, lowers the risk of gallstones and is a good salad dressing. What’s not to like.

Fruits And Vegetables

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap since the days of the super low-carb Atkins diet which is still recommended by some personal trainers in Singapore and elsewhere. I believe Atkins is a better idea than a high refined carbohydrate diet but it is not a total health system.

Far more important than total carbohydrate intake however, is the type of carbohydrates that you eat.

Fruits and vegetables should be your main carbohydrate sources. Eat all kinds and all colors. Fruits and vegetables have huge amounts of micronutrients and anti-oxidants. Green vegetables also tend to have cancer preventing properties and the ability to help those who have high blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables also are high in fiber and taste really good as well.

Beans

Beans are great sources of fiber (benefits of fiber listed above). They also have protein but its vegetable protein which is inferior to animal protein. The list of good beans is long. Peas, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans (there are many more types as well) are all good.

Green Tea

Green tea is a great source of potent antioxidants, manages to lower total cholesterol, improves good to bad cholesterol ratio, tastes decent, and has 0 calories. The   benefits of green tea   are indisputable. Make sure to take advantage of this amazing, thousands of years old and proven beverage. This, along with water (as mentioned above) should be your main drink.

Get the above foods into your diet and watch your health levels improve fast. You have nothing to lose and plenty to gain by using and implementing my athlete nutrition guidelines.

By: Coach Jonathan Wong

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Athletes And Healthy Eating Lifestyle

Healthy diet for athletes which develops into rutine healthy eating  lifestyle  provides a rich nutrition that plays a huge part in gaining the best athletic performance that lasts.

If you play hockey, golf, football, tennis or whatever your chosen sport is, having the right nutritional balance is essential.

Most nutrients can be obtained by eating the correct foods. Having the correct balance of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates is an essential part of proper healthy diet and performance enhancing regime.

 

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Being an athlete and participating in sports will require more nutrients as a way of keeping the energy levels up to ensure the athlete remains at peak fitness throughout their activities. Being an athlete is more strenuous on the body and that is the main reason why they will require more nutrients than the regular person.

During their sporting activities athletes tend to lose a lot of fluids. Everyone has heard of dehydration, which is one of the largest problems faced during sports. Losing fluids will cause you to tire much quicker than normal which will have a negative impact on sporting performance.

The reason why some athletes are called professional athletes is that they get paid to perform at their maximum on a daily basis. To do this it is imperative that the body gets proper nutrition. It is vital to drink enough water, have a balanced diet by eating the proper foods and also get the proper nutritional intake.

Different sports will cause the body to require different nutrients. Nearly all professional athletes have a sports nutritionist who helps in providing the correct diet for their particular nutritional needs.

Having a balanced diet is essential and should be based on several different factors. Such as, the type of sports that you are participating in, age, physical condition and body size.

It is always best to consult with a doctor when changing your diet instead of just deciding one for yourself. To go one step further getting a sports nutritionist will help in giving you the correct diet that will suit your body and help in providing the perfect diet to complement your sport.

When exercising it is vital to remember that a lot of fluids will be lost. When you are working out in the gym, doing weights, running, it is easy to forget the fluid loss that you body is experiencing. That is probably the main reason why water is one of the most important parts of sports nutrition.

It makes up about sixty percent of your body weight and is involved in almost all of your bodily processes.

Your body cannot produce and store water, this is the main reason why it is important to replace all fluids that are lost during exercise. If you don’t then dehydration will have a huge part in damaging your athletic abilities. Taking part in sports will require you to consume much more water than eight glasses daily.

Carbohydrates are the most important fuel source. It provides a minimum of sixty to a maximum of seventy percent of our calories. Carbohydrates are found on almost all of the food you consume. Food rich in carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, pastas, breads, cereals, rice and many more that are too many to mention.

The body converts all starches and sugars in carbohydrates to glucose. The main provider of energy in the body is glucose. That is why an active lifestyle requires more carbohydrates than usual. The body will also store glucose in the liver and muscles that will give your body a energy reserve. If this reserve is not used during sports then it will be more likely to turn into fat. The larger your carbohydrate intake the more energy you will have during sports. If your intake is to high it will have a negative effect as you will begin to increase in fat. Other energy sources include proteins and fats.

Foods that help in providing the most amount of protein would be, eggs, nuts, poultry, fish, meat, beans and dairy products. Proteins will supply about 15 to 20 percent of your daily calorie allowance. The main uses of proteins are in tissue regeneration and muscle building.

If you are an athlete it will pay you great dividends in the long run when you decide to  incorporate healthy diet into your daily life. It stands to reason that people who are not involved in sports or athletics will benefit as well. You will feel much better and will likely lose weight that you don’t need.

Absolutely everyone will be better of if they start and continue to partake in healthy diet which will with time become their healthy eating lifestyle.

By Chris M
Published: 11/15/2006

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Athletes, Fad Diets, Colon Cleanses

Healthy diet for Athletes has not lost its importance. On the contrary. But sometimes athletes seem to get away with many  nutritional sins. Track stars may bee seen to indulge in a fast food meal without any adverse consequencies. Yet the reality is very different. Far too many athletes are putting their lives at risk day in and day out with colon cleanses, body cleanses, liver detox regimens, and fad diets that claim to help build muscle and reduce overall body fat.

Athleticism is a world characterized by always being on the lookout for the next record, a faster sprint, a quicker reflex, more endurance, and less fatigue. Yet there is only so far the human body may be pushed and many a time an athlete is not content with the amount of pushing her or his body is enduring and instead of gradually shaping and working the body the athlete may choose to find that extra bit of boost in a bottle of supplements. While steroids are the most well known and notorious of all substances, they are by no means the most dangerous.

Yes, they will cause death and destruction and slowly rot the body from the inside out, but fad diets are also to blame. How often have you known and athlete who will ingest protein to the exclusion of all other food groups? In times gone by hailed as being the surefire way of developing extra muscle mass, it has become known that the protein – while healthy at normal levels – will adversely affect the kidneys and also the liver when overdone. Several supplement manufacturers are quick to point out that there are liver and even kidney detox programs available, yet they are more of a band aid on a problem that is not dealt with and before long even the detoxification will lose its magic.

track star, next record, sporting event, athletesathlete on healthy diet, more endurance, less fatigue

Colon cleansers are offered to athletes in the hopes of shaving off that extra pound in a short period of time. Usually done before a sporting event, the practice has led to the abuse of laxative containing substances and thus in the long term is fostering the colon’s dependence on such laxatives for proper voiding. In addition to the foregoing, some of the supplements used are harsh because the weight loss is to be effected virtually overnight, and thus it is not uncommon for the athlete to spend the night before the big event bent over with severe cramping and abdominal pain.

Profuse sweating and allergic reactions quite often accompany such regimens which also send large amounts of toxins into the bloodstream. Thus, the liver and kidneys are now also becoming stressed. Due to the heavy sweating, the electrolytes inside the athlete’s system are no longer in balance, and quite possibly a good amount of potassium is being flushed out of the system. The heat of the next day and the exertion will lead to a quicker fatiguing of the bodily systems and in some cases may even cause heart attacks since the electric impulses that keep the heart muscle stimulated no longer have sufficient electrolytes to keep working.

It is therefore very important to avoid fads and quick fixes that are supposed to give you desired athletic performance and the weight you need. There is only one working and long term solution to getting you the desired results which contains two elements:  #1) training hard and just as important #2) being fueled by a healthy diet for athletes.

By: May Tan