Athletes, especially working ones, live one of the most active lifestyles! As we know, what we eat significantly affects our energy levels!
Kim Brown, a US based dietician and endurance athlete, has some helpful tips about the foods she finds particularly useful for maintaining energy levels:
Oats is an outstanding source of carbohydrate when it comes to maintaining a steady blood sugar level. This magical carbohydrate is at the lower end of the Glycaemic Index (GI) scale, so it supports rather than spikes insulin levels.
I was pleased to read that Kim places this low GI food on her list; I too find lentils a particularly energising food. Lentils are easily digested and not “heavy” which makes them a great dinner after a hard training session.
This energy food is news to me! I have never been one to eat figs! Figs, according to Kim, are very rich in carbohydrates; in fact 3 figs provide 30 grams of carbohydrate as well as valuable B- vitamins and some potassium and calcium. It’s time for me to give figs a chance!
These little berries are very low in fat, reasonably high in carbohydrate and rich in vitamin C which helps the immune system. Blueberries have the highest ORAC score (or Oxygen Radical Absorbence Capacity) of all fruits. This means the berries are excellent scavengers of free radicals which helps limit the damage that oxidation can cause to muscles.
This popular fruit is well known for its high vitamin C content making it a very useful fruit for athletes. Personally, I find oranges too acidic, but Kim thinks they are a great energy food.
This vegetable is an excellent source of carbohydrate as well as a rich source of beta-carotene (a potent anti-oxidant). It also has a low GI, what a bonus! I agree with Kim – what an incredible carbohydrate!
Low fat yogurt
Kim tells us that yogurt can supply around 40% of our body’s calcium needs. In her opinion, yoghurt is a particularly good food for female athletes because it promotes glycogen replenishment and muscle recovery.
What to moderate?
Generally it’s foods with a high GI that should be avoided or at least limited, as they promote a quick rise in insulin which creates the ‘spike’ I mentioned earlier:
Moderation in all things, including eating, is an important part of life. So for me, I choose the foods I really enjoy, like pizza or muffins, and rather than deprive myself completely, only eat these foods occasionally. Once a week works for me, the problem comes in when these foods are part of one’s everyday diet.
Kim’s list is not exhaustive. It does give us a guide based on both her training as a dietician and her experience as an athlete. I believe in fresh foods like fruit and vegetables because I can feel a difference these foods make to my body. Healthy eating plays such an important part in my performance and assists in maintaining my immune system which enables me to train consistently.
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This month it is all about the ladies
Women go through many stages and changes throughout their lives. First there is childhood full of wonderment and a lot of firsts – first tooth, first day at school, first time you come home with a scraped knee. Then you turn into an awkward teenager as you battle your way through hormonal and bodily changes and experience the beginning of having periods every month.