We have all been told that we are what we eat, but how does nutrition affect athletic performance? Can the food we eat alter our endurance, strength, speed or even our mental performance? Do our carbohydrate, protein, fluid, vitamin, and mineral requirements differ according to our sport? When is the best time to eat and drink? Are you interested in learning about the latest information regarding ergogenic aids and supplements? What special nutrition concerns do athletic women have? Read on if you want to boost your athletic achievements through nutrition.
There are probably 3 basic dietary prescriptions for health and fitness. These apply to athlete and nonathlete alike. They are:
- Maintain a healthy body weight by adjusting food intake and exercise
- Eat less fat and specifically less saturated fats, such as those fats found in animal products and tropical oils
- Increase total carbohydrate, especially complex carbohydrate
In addition, we recommend eating less cholesterol, reducing intake of refined sugar, eating more fiber, fruits and vegetables and drinking alcohol in moderation. However, over and above these general recommendations, athletes have certain critical areas of nutrition. Given the extra caloric expenditure during exercise, requirements for most nutrients may be increased.