If you’re an athlete looking to maximize performance, you know how important nutrition is when it comes to complimenting all the hard work you put into your workouts. While it’s okay to indulge in cheat days every once in a while, junk food and other foods high in sugar should not be your go-to for every meal. Good nutrition improves strength, boosts muscle recovery, builds lean muscle, and benefits your overall health.
Opt for foods that are rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, proteins, and other essential vitamins instead. Not only will your body thank you, you will start to notice quicker and better results.
10 Foods for the Athlete’s Diet
The following 10 foods are a must for every athlete to include in their diet. Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand when it comes to performance and overall health.
Rich in fiber to keep you feeling full and high in carbs to fuel your energy levels, oatmeal is helpful in absorbing fat and cholesterol and keeps your heart healthy.
Oatmeal is a healthy food you can add into your protein shakes or enjoy as a breakfast option. Make sure to avoid the instant kind and look out for the steel cut oats which are 100% whole grain.
Not only are blueberries a tasty option for dessert, they are packed with antioxidants that reduce the damage caused by free radicals during the oxidation process. This healthy fruit is rich in vitamins A, B, and C and boost overall performance during your workouts.
3. Omega-3 Eggs
Eggs are one of the best foods for athletes as they are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Not only do they promote strong muscles, eggs are also shown to promote good cholesterol in the body that is necessary to carry out certain body functions.
The amino acids in the eggs stimulate protein synthesis which further promotes muscle building and muscle recovery.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a good source of lean protein that fights inflammation and enables quicker muscle recovery in the process.
Consuming fresh salmon is much healthier (and tastier) than the pills, and adding this food to your diet can also lower the risk of developing heart disease in the future.
Easy to eat and easy to throw away, bananas are the no-mess, healthy snack you should have already been enjoying every day.
Bananas are a great food to snack on because the potassium-rich food helps to replenish this nutrient that is lost from the body as you sweat during exercise. With about 100 calories in a banana, this food also helps to lower blood pressure and is easy to digest.
6. Cruciferous Vegetables
Vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are packed with anti-oxidants and are extremely healthy for the body.
While broccoli can help fight the development of tumors, most of these veggies are rich in anti-inflammatory properties that reduce muscle soreness, arthritis pain, and chronic pain.
7. Olive Oil
The monosaturated fat and anti-inflammatory properties in olive oil can really come in handy to the athlete’s overall health.
Whether you spread it on your salad or use it as a base for cooking, olive oil is easy to add to your meals, delicious to eat, and one of the healthiest oils you can buy at the store.
8. Sweet Potato
Rich in vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes can be enjoyed baked, mashed, lightly fried, or boiled. Packed with protein and some vitamin B, sweet potatoes are a great choice for athletes and a healthier alternative to other potatoes.
9. Chocolate Milk
Low-fat chocolate milk might become your go-to drink post-workout. While the caffeine in chocolate works to relax the blood vessels, the carbs to protein ratio that chocolate milk comes with help promote muscle recovery.
Although nuts are high in calories, they contain good nutrients and unsaturated fats that reduce inflammation, enhance muscle recovery, and fuel energy levels.
The high fiber snack can help to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time, thus, fighting the urge to reach for unhealthy snacks during the day.