Yahoo Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo every day. Learn more »Yahoo Contributor Network
Total body health for athletes
Nutrition is of utmost importance when it comes to sports and exercise. Our bodies need six nutrients as we participate in athletic activities. Without these nutrients, we could cause ourselves unnecessary harm. While keeping physically fit is an important key in keeping healthy, it is imperative to combine physical fitness with proper nutrition.
Regardless of how you choose to work out, your body needs these nutrients.
Our bodies don't need simple carbohydrates found in desserts or soft drinks, they need complex carbohydrates such as potatoes and fruit. Complex carbohydrates provide energy to the body. Athletes, and those who are highly active, need more carbohydrates than the average individual. In addition to providing energy, complex carbohydrates provide our bodies with fiber. Foods such as beans and produce are ideal sources of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is beneficial as it prevents the absorption of cholesterol, and therefore reduces the likelihood of getting gallstones and cardiovascular disease.
Lipids exist as solids (fats) or liquids (oils). Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential fatty acids that play a substantial role in cell structure and immune system function. Choose plant oils or fatty fish when looking to nourish the body with essential fatty acids. Olive oil is a heart healthy lipid when used in moderation.
Proteins are essential when it comes to health. They contain amino acids, which help build and repair body tissue. Look for complete protein foods that contain each of the nine essential amino acids. Eggs, meat and fish are all complete protein foods. Experts agree that drinking protein after working out can aid in muscle recovery and growth.
The body needs vitamins in small amounts. Eating a balanced diet and taking a daily multivitamin is the best way to achieve the vitamins needed by the body. Avoid taking vitamins in doses that are excessively higher than what the FDA recommends. Vitamin D is important for bone health and lack of it is linked to multiple health problems, including cancer and fractures.
Minerals are needed by the body, yet too much of certain minerals can cause harm. Potassium is one mineral required by the body. It is best to get potassium from food sources, such as bananas and potatoes. When potassium levels are too high or too low, one is at risk of an abnormal heartbeat, which could be life threatening. This is why I highly recommend eating foods high in potassium rather than taking a potassium supplement.
After engaging in athletic activities, it is important to replenish the body with water lost by perspiration. Our bodies lose water every day as we exhale and sweat. The value of water cannot be emphasized enough as dehydration can cause dizziness and fainting. Keeping a water bottle with you while participating in athletic activities is a good way to prevent dehydration.
Rebecca completed courses in Medical Terminology, Administrative Medical Assisting and Coding and Billing. She is recognized by the National Healthcareer Association as a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) and Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA).
Allan, David M., Lockyer, Karen D., Buchman, Michelle A. (2008): Medical Language for Modern Health Care. New York: McGraw-Hill
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.