Athletes need a healthy physical and mental state to perform at their full potential; However, you can not be healthy mentally and physically without the right nutrition in your diet. In this article, I will be informing you of why it’s important to eat healthy and what foods are beneficial to you as an athlete and how I started making the transition to a healthier diet.
Why it’s important
As Athletes, we need to be able to sustain focus and have the energy to be fully active and play the game we love at the highest level possible, and the food we put in our body impacts those things significantly.
By taking the steps to having a healthy and balanced diet, you’ll get the nutrients your body and mind needs to stay healthy, active, and strong.
What you should add to your diet
As athletes eating a well-balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables, and food low in fats, will help support a healthy immune system.
Fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals; they are high in fiber, and they reduce the risk of getting diseases. Fruits also provide a wide range of antioxidants that improve your immune system and overall health. Here are some fruits I recommend you add to your diet and why:
Citrus fruits, including lemons, contain active components called phytochemicals that benefit health, including vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and pectin.
Strawberries have a high water content that contains healthy vitamins and minerals. The seeds provide plenty of dietary fiber per serving. Strawberries also contain anthocyanins, which can help boost heart health.
Oranges are a citrus fruit packed with vitamins and minerals and are among the richest sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. This vitamin is also essential for immune system function. It boosts immune function by helping the body to absorb iron from plant-based foods.
Grapefruits are full of health-inducing vitamins and minerals. The compounds called furanocoumarins found in grapefruits can help protect against oxidative stress and tumors and may support healthy bones. They contain flavonoids, which can help protect against some cancers and inflammation.
Blackberries contain health-boosting antioxidant effects. Blackberries contain many seeds, so they have a high fiber content. This means they can help improve gut health and heart health.
Apples are a quick and easy way to add fruit to your diet. Apples are high-fiber fruits, meaning that eating them could boost heart health and promote weight loss. The pectin in apples helps to maintain good gut health. Eat them with the skin on for the greatest health benefits.
Pineapple is an exotic fruit that may help reduce inflammation and promote healthy tissue growth. Pineapple contains an active compound called bromelain, which many people take as a dietary supplement because of its health benefits.
Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps the body control heart rate and blood pressure.
Pomegranates are high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which help combat the oxidative stress that can cause disease in the body. Eat pomegranates with the seeds to get the fiber benefits.
Vegetables are known for being good for your overall health. Most vegetables are low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, some vegetables stand out from the rest with additional proven health benefits, such as the ability to fight inflammation or reduce the risk of disease. Here are some vegetables I recommend you add to your diet and why:
Spinach is rich in antioxidants that reduce the risk of chronic disease, and reduce risk factors like high blood pressure.
Carrots high antioxidant content may help reduce the risk of lung cancer. Carrots are also high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that can prevent cancer growth. Eating broccoli may also help reduce the risk of chronic disease by protecting against oxidative stress.
Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which can help treat inflammation-related disorders like arthritis, lupus, or gout. Studies suggest that if people who suffer from osteoarthritis are treated with a concentrated ginger extract they will experience reduced knee pain and relief from other symptoms. Further research suggests that ginger could aid in the treatment of diabetes as well.
Red cabbage contains a high amount of fiber, vitamin C and anthocyanins. Certain studies show that it can decrease blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart and liver damage.
What you should remove from your diet
Diets low in carbohydrates can increase feelings of tension, whereas diets high in carbohydrates have a more uplifting effect on mood.
A deficiency in iron may cause fatigue, irritability, and low energy.
What happens If you don’t have a balanced diet
With poor nutrition, our immune system, usually a defense against disease, won’t be able to do its job and is the most common cause of immunodeficiencies worldwide. Also, you won’t be able to play at your full potential because your mental and physical health won’t be able to function at a high level, and that’s something eating healthier can fix.
How I started making the transition to healthy foods
What helped me start eating healthier isn’t how most people started their journey. Mine started when I noticed my stomach would ache when I started eating gluten, so I had to stop eating wheat. You might think it’s not a big deal, but when I noticed I had a gluten allergy, that’s when I noticed these days most of the things I ate consist of gluten. So I had to change what I ate for the time being, so I ate more salads, vegetables and when I just started eating, I felt so much better and more refreshed. My stomach was feeling a lot better, but then when I started researching and found that people make gluten-free bread and pizza, I wanted to go back. However when I started eating healthy foods for some time, my body started craving those healthy foods, and I wasn’t tempted to go back to junk food as often. I’m not saying sometimes eating a fast-food burger or pizza is terrible, but what I am saying is that constantly having those unhealthy foods as part of your diet is bad for your health, especially if you are an athlete and are always active. I hope telling you about my story helps you on your journey to eating healthier and hopefully helps you get on that path as soon as possible.
Proper nutrition for athletes improves the ability to recover from injury and fight off illnesses. It also increases your energy levels so you can perform at your highest level. It can help with losing weight, building muscles, improves heart health, supports healthy bones, lowers high cholesterol, and controls heart rate and blood pressure.
Even if you are not an athlete eating healthy will improve your well-being.
If you are ready to take that next step to reaching your full potential as an athlete, I suggest you make these changes sooner rather than later. I know it is not going to be easy, but with dedication and consistency you will get there.
I hope you gathered a lot of helpful information from this article if you enjoyed reading this article and would like to read more like this, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter list below, so you don’t miss out on any of my articles. If you have any questions about having a balanced diet, please leave it in the comments below, and I will get back to you.
I hope you have a great day 🙂