Diet can make or break your sports performance. Here's how to start eating like a top athlete today.
Think of your body as a high-end luxury car and your food as the gasoline. Your body is a complex of many moving parts, and your body needs premium “gas” to run most efficiently and effectively.
These six amazing foods will keep your engine running:
Quinoa: Quinoa is a gluten-free grain loaded with complex carbohydrates and protein. This special combination of macronutrients makes it perfect for eating both before and after workouts. In one serving (1/2 cup) of quinoa, you’ll also get about half of your daily magnesium intake, which can help support bone and heart health, making it perfect for athletes.
Bananas: Muscle cramps caused by low potassium are a common ailment among athletes. Eating just one medium banana a day gives you 422 milligrams of potassium and can help prevent muscle cramps and soreness. An average banana also contains about 30 grams of low-glycemic carbohydrates, making it a choice fuel source, whether you are working out for a short or long period of time.
Peanut butter: Peanut butter is loaded with protein, unsaturated fats and fiber, all of which will help keep you full during your workout. Also, for vegans or vegetarians, nut butters make a great natural source of plant-based protein, essential for muscle growth and repair.
Turmeric: Turmeric, a spice used widely all over the world, contains a substance known as curcumin. This substance has been shown to reduce inflammation and ease the pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This natural anti-inflammatory is perfect for runners or any weight-bearing athlete.
Eggs: Eggs have been a longtime favorite food among athletes. Not only are they loaded with protein, including all nine essential amino acids, but the yolks are rich in choline, an essential micronutrient that is vital for proper nerve and muscle function.
Spinach: Spinach may not make your muscles grow instantaneously like Popeye’s, but this iron-loaded leafy green can help improve athletic performance by keeping your blood healthy. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen to tissues all over the body and keeps you from becoming prematurely fatigued during workouts.
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Review Date: May 27, 2015
Reviewed By: Nora Minni, RD, CDN