Nutrition to Boost Athletic Performance

A highly nutritious diet can increase physical performance and recovery after exercise. You don’t have to be a professional athlete competing for high stakes to benefit. Proper nutrition can increase your endurance and give you the strength to break through barriers to beat your own benchmarks. Nutrition also speeds recovery after exercise, including recovery from exercise-induced injury. A healthy body will be stronger and less prone to injuries, cramps and other ailments that interfere with exercise routines.

Maintaining a nutrient-dense diet is essential for optimal physical performance. In addition to nutrient quality, athletes engaged in intense physical activity should pay particular attention to the timing of certain nutrients. For example, during long periods of activity, eating both carbohydrates and protein is essential for maintaining body weight, glycogen levels, and providing enough protein to form and heal damaged tissue.

It is worth highlighting the role of vitamin D in supporting the body’s vital functions. Vitamin D promotes bone health because vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium. Calcium is central to bone growth and repair, regulating blood calcium, supporting muscle function, nerve function and blood clotting. Low levels of vitamin D or calcium can reduce bone density and increase susceptibility to fractures. Good sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin D also supports the nervous system and muscle function. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. However, good food sources are fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon), eggs, butter, beef liver, cheese and omega-3 oil. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble substance, so if you rely on supplements as your primary source, be sure to take omega-3 fish oil, extra virgin olive oil, or vitamin D along with it. coconut oil.

It must be no coincidence that a triathlon race is called “Iron Man”. Iron, which the body uses to form hemoglobin in the blood, maintains oxygen levels in the blood and muscles during exercise. With too little hemoglobin, the athlete can suffer from lower performance, a weaker immune system, less resistance to disease, fatigue, a short temper and an accelerated heart rate. Good dietary sources of iron are red meat, oats, nuts, green leafy vegetables and legumes.

Having enough protein in the body can help prevent and repair muscle damage caused by exercise-related stress. Protein supplementation after exercise in a US Navy unit showed a reduction in medical visits by up to 33%, a reduction in bacterial infections by up to 28%, a reduction in reported muscle and joint pain by up to 37% and a reduction in heat exhaustion of up to 83%. Protein taken after exercise increases muscle protein levels, reduces muscle soreness and improves tissue hydration during prolonged training exercises. Good sources of protein are fish, red meat, eggs, chicken, yogurt, cheese and legumes.

In addition to nutrients and protein, athletes should drink enough fluids during and after exercise to stabilize fluid loss. Sports drinks consumed during exercise help maintain blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of dehydration and hyponatremia. A good, balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods should provide enough nutrients to support a vigorous exercise regimen.

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