What You Should Be Eating to Be a Better Athlete

What You Should Be Eating to Be a Better Athlete

Whether you're an experienced sportsperson or just starting out in the world of athletics, what you eat matters. While it should come as no surprise that foods full of sugar or unhealthy fats have a negative impact on athletic performance, there are some foods that have an unexpectedly positive effect. Work some of these foods into your diet to start seeing big changes in your active endeavors.

Beets: Beets aren't just a powerhouse of nutrients and fiber. They're also full of nitrates. Your body turns this compound into nitric oxide, which goes on to have a notable impact on your body's ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles. Even doing something as simple as adding beet root powder to your smoothie can help you perform at your best.

Salmon: If you suffer from asthma, you may find that exercise doesn't love you as much as you love it. Salmon can help change all that. Besides being an excellent source of protein, salmon has a large concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds reduce inflammation in the body, potentially letting you exercise longer and harder with less disruption from asthma.

Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries… not only are they delicious, they also contain phytochemicals that reduce oxidative stress on the body from strenuous activities. Preliminary research also suggests that the antioxidants found in berries can help preserve muscle as people age.

Nuts: Nuts are a great idea for anyone. Full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, they're especially useful for athletes. Turns out that eating almonds a few times a week can improve athletic performance. Check out this study to learn more.

Hydrating Fruits: If you're working hard, you're losing a lot of water. Your water bottle is one way to get it back, but there are other options. Hydrating fruits like watermelon, strawberries, peaches, and oranges return water to your body while providing plenty of necessary nutrients. 

Flax Seeds: Add flax seeds to your diet for an extra dose of Omega-3s. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation and improve healing - just what you need after a hard workout. Flax is easy to add to a morning smoothie, as well as to yogurt, oatmeal, or a number of other easy dishes.

Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes are your one stop shop for performance improving nutrition. Antioxidants? Check. Vitamins? Check. Fiber? Check. Full of potassium, iron, and manganese, sweet potatoes are perfect for keeping your muscles in tip-top shape. 

Dark Chocolate: You didn't think we'd get through this list without something indulgent, did you? Dark chocolate is full of flavanols, which are compounds that help ease inflammation. If you're looking to recover well after working out, that is a very good thing. 

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