Sue Baic May 14, 2014

You should always aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet as it provides you with the nutrients and energy you need to go about your daily life. But for those engaging in or training for sport, there are a few additional dietary recommendations to think about, not least the need to consider a higher intake of carbohydrates.

Can I eat more when partaking in sports?

It goes without saying that if you’re doing more exercise you’re burning more energy.

Sports nutritionist and registered dietitian Wendy Martinson says ‘To increase your energy intake and fuel your training sessions, eat more carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes. Try to choose wholegrain varieties, and eat potatoes with their skins on. Include sources of essential fats from foods such as oily fish, nuts and seeds. You will also need enough protein-rich foods to help repair and build your muscles.’(i)

Though the suggestion to eat more carbohydrates might be music to your ears, try to make sure you don’t go overboard. It’s easy to think that just because you’re partaking in plenty of exercise you can indulge in a lot more food than is normal, and it can be tempting to reach for snacks that are high in sugar and or fat. If you’re not careful you could undo the good you did by going on that run or whatever it might be in the first place.

When looking to find some more fuel for your training, try one of the following superfood components for a quick and healthy burst of energy.

3 superfoods that could supercharge your training

1. Oats

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of oats one too many times but it’s because they really are a superbly energising ingredient. And with porridge, muesli, overnight oats and flapjacks being just a small number of the recipe options available using this ingredient, the versatility of oats is phenomenal.

They also have a low glycemic index (GI), meaning that they energy they contain is released slowly into the blood stream avoiding any blood sugar spikes or dips.

2. Berries

When it comes to berries blueberries tend to be the variety that comes to mind. They are certainly the most popular for their great source of vitamin C and manganese and anti-inflammatory antioxidants to help recovering muscles after training. But many other berries, montmorency cherries for example, can also play a role in reducing inflammation and pain after exercise. The latter have been found to help with sleep, too.

3. Nuts and seeds

The benefits of nuts are extensive and they contain oodles of heart healthy fats and fat soluble vitamins. They also contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, and copper as well as antioxidants to aid with recovery.

Try:

• Pecans;

• Cashews;

• Walnuts;

• Almonds;

• Hazelnuts;

• Brazil nuts.

And it’s not just nuts that are little powerhouses of vitamins and minerals that could help your muscles perform to the best of their ability and help with recovery. Chia seeds and linseeds are fantastic sources of the plant-based omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), iron and calcium. Make sure to ground Linseeds (flaxseed) though as because the body is not able to break down the outer shell this is how it best utilises them.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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