Many athlete's diets revolve around carbohydrate such as pasta or rice, lean protein such as chicken, fish or eggs and fruit and vegetables. This is a good model to follow for athletes and for general health a like. There are of course a few considerations to keep in mind if you are wanting to fuel like a pro....
Choose the right type of carbs
Research indicates that the types of carbohydrates you choose can significantly impact upon your body fat. Unrefined carbohydrates contain a number of key vitamins and minerals that have been removed from refined carbohydrates. Unrefined carbohydrates also keep you fuller for longer as they take your body longer to digest. Be sure to choose unrefined carbohydrates! These include whole grain products (breads, pastas, rice and cereals), sweet potatoes, fruit and vegetables. Stear clear of highly processed white bread, white pasta, cakes and biscuits.
Choose Omega 3 fatty acids
Athletes should also try to include some anti-inflammatory omega 3s in their diet to help with recovery and repair of muscles. Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna and herring are the best choices for a high omega 3 intake. Walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds are good choices and can easily be added to breakfast cereals, smoothies and snacks throughout the day. Not only do your joints and muscles benefit from these good fats, but omega 3 can also help to reduce severity of inflammatory conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and irritable bowel syndrome. For more information on best omega 3 sources click here.
Refuel post workout
It is important to replace lost electrolytes after a sweaty workout as well as refueling to help build muscles and aid in recovery. Avoid sugar laiden sports drinks, instead choosing potassium rich fruits such as bananas, kiwifruit, oranges and cantaloupe. Best food choices for muscle recovery post workout are those with a good protein carbohydrate balance. Try foods such as Greek yoghurt, eggs (cooked any way you like!), wholegrain cereal with milk and peanut butter on wholegrain toast.
Drink plenty of water
Hydration is important for everyone regardless of your athletic status. Staying hydrated helps your body to function at its optimal level by regulating your temperature, transporting nutrients around the body and lubricating joints. The easiest way to determine your hydration levels is by assessing the colour of your urine. The darker the yellow of your urine indicates lower hydration levels and should prompt you to drink more water. The aim is to have as clear a urine as possible!
Co-written by Dr. Noel Duncan & Perri Simon