A healthy diet for athletes is vital because they use up a lot of calories and need more nutrition. Everyone needs to be healthy, but an athlete has special nutritional and caloric needs.
A healthy diet for athletes is a necessary requirement to provide adequate nutrition and calories. If they don’t eat healthy and have the proper athletes nutrition, they will not be able to perform well and will also suffer physically.
Athletes diet will depend on what kind of sports they take part in and for how long. A weekend athlete will have different needs from a professional Olympic athlete who trains everyday. A body builder or weight lifter’s dietary requirements will vary from that of a swimmer.
Some athletes need nutrition for short bursts of activity; others need for activity along with endurance. There are sports that require building of muscle mass, while other sports require the athlete to be lean and agile. Women athletes have specific requirements as do vegetarians.
Between 50-70 percent of the caloric requirements of a healthy diet for athletes ought to come from carbohydrates. The body digests carbs easily and stores them as glycogen. Athletes can then burn the glycogen. Learn more about carbohydrates for athletes.
It is essential that sufficient fats are also eaten as essential fatty acids are important. They provide energy reserves and omega 3 fatty acids have antioxidant properties.
Proteins are necessary for bodybuilding and muscle repair. Athletes nutrition guidelines- fats and proteins.
Women athletes have somewhat different nutritional requirements. They need more iron, calcium, Vitamin B and zinc.
Iron deficiency can lead to anemia and cause fatigue in women, not allowing them to function to full capacity.
Calcium is particularly important for bone repair and to avoid osteoporosis.
Females athletes need to add these nutrients to prevent amenorrhea, eating problems and bone loss.
Judicious diet planning is vital for vegetarian and vegan athletes, otherwise their performance and health can suffer. A healthy diet for athletes who are vegetarian should comprise all the foods except the meat and eggs, unless they are not fully vegetarian and do eat eggs.
Protein sources for vegetarians include legumes, nuts, all dairy products, seeds and soy products like soy meal, soy flour, soy granules or chunks, tofu. Sprouting increases the protein and vitamin content of whole dry beans (like kidney beans, black eyed beans, butter beans, etc.), whole legumes and seeds.
However, vegetarians and even strict vegans can face some dietary problems.
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