Nutrition Info Athletes: The 10 Best Foods For Athletes
Nutrition information for soccer players from Amy Dirks. Discover what makes this column so different: Read Meet SoccerToday’s Nutritionist Amy Dirks – Great Info for Soccer Players of All Ages.
Have a nutrition question? Ask Amy! Just email Amy or visit Amy Dirks Sports Nutrition. Here is important information on foods that many people eat without fully realizing the impact on an athlete’s body and ability to recover.
The Simple Truth on Nutrition for Soccer Players
The foods we eat essentially tell our bodies what to do; deflame or inflame.
Just as certain foods can increase inflammation in the body, the opposite can be true if anti-inflammatory foods are consumed on a regular basis.
Certain foods have high antioxidant levels, gut-healing probiotics, and essential vitamins and minerals that can keep the body running at an optimal level.
Athletes create stress in the body via hard trainings and games and therefore, should have these foods on their ongoing grocery list.
Remember, you can’t out train a bad diet.
The same is true for what you put into your body. Eating these anti-inflammatory foods won’t do much good if you are consuming inflammatory foods all the time so work towards eliminating the top inflammatory foods while incorporating more of the anti-inflammatory foods.
1) Blueberries & cherries:
Add blueberries to yogurt, salads, oatmeal, waffles/pancakes, or smoothies. Cherries are great too.
2) Green Leafy Vegetables:
If you aren’t a salad person, add greens to your smoothies (freeze them first), saute them into eggs, or throw them into soups at the end of cooking.
Wash and cut into sticks to dip into hummus, nut butters, or guacamole. Chop and add to salmon/tuna/chicken salad, or cook into soups. Drinking celery juice is great too.
4) Broccoli and leafy greens:
With potassium and magnesium, broccoli is an athlete’s star food. Steam, roast, saute, or grill. Drizzle with olive oil and season with spices/herbs. Make a broccoli, kale, apple superfood salad. Add pumpkin seeds for more health benefits.
Yes, they are earthy tasting, but roasting beets with olive/avocado oil and then cutting into slices or cubes to add to salads is an easy and tasty way to eat beets. Leafy greens, roasted beets, goat cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette is an easy salad to try. Beets are also excellent to have when in higher elevations. Try drinking a beet juice prior to activity when in elevation.
Besides the vitamins and minerals pineapple provides, it has a digestive enzyme bromelain that makes it a superfood for inflammation. Enjoy it cut up (preferably before a meal) by itself, in a smoothie, sauteed with honey, pine nuts and mascarpone cheese for a delicious dessert, or blended with collagen protein and coconut milk and made into popsicles.
7) Bone Broth:
The ultimate recovery drink! Sip it like a tea or add to soups, cook your quinoa and rice in it, or use a bone broth powder in smoothies.
8) Wild-Caught Salmon:
Wild-caught is superior to farm-raised salmon so opt for wild-caught anytime you can.
Salmon is high in essential fatty acids like Omega 3’s which is the ultimate anti-inflammatory. Salmon can be enjoyed in many ways, such as grilled, smoked, or even canned salmon.
9) Chia Seeds/ Flax Seeds:
Both provide healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals. Sprinkle on yogurt, oatmeal, in smoothies or smoothie bowls, on salads or pasta/rice.
These two are super strong anti-inflammatories so use them in supplement form, fresh in cooking or juicing, or in powder spice form.
Walnuts, coconut oil, and olive oil are all additional ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties.
Walnuts can be enjoyed roasted and eaten alone, in a trail mix (add some dark chocolate for more antioxidants), or added to salads, oatmeal, and other dishes.
Coconut oil is great for cooking because of the high smoke point or can be added to smoothies. Olive oil is best for dips and dressings or drizzled over cooked foods.
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