Sports and nutrition are often closely related. This is because your body needs the right nutrition to stay in good shape and healthy. Without these nutrients, you will perform less well and you even run a higher risk of injury.
In this article, we look at the essential links between exercise and nutrition and how to keep your body in shape.
Why is the link between sport and nutrition so important?
Every food has certain properties that affect our bodies. Proteins support our muscles and make us feel full faster, while carbohydrates provide an energy boost. However, the wrong amounts can quickly cause problems.
The most important foods for athletes
There are two types of carbohydrates: whole carbohydrates and processed carbohydrates. The full carbohydrates consist of a lot of fiber and starch. Starches ensure stable blood sugar levels and gradually give you the energy to get through the day. Fiber ensures a healthy gut and helps your bowel movements. Processed carbohydrates give a sugar peak after which you experience a so-called crash. Full carbohydrates are an important source of energy, especially for athletes. Most athletes need about 5 to 7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. You get these carbohydrates from whole grains and vegetables.
2. Vitamins and Minerals
Each vitamin and mineral has specific functions in the body and can help support you during exercise. Vitamin B, for example, provides more energy because it supports the processing of carbohydrates. Vitamin D helps support bones so you are less likely to break bones, and iron helps transport oxygen throughout your body, making you less likely to suffer oxidative damage. For the antioxidants you have to go to vitamins C and E. Antioxidants are substances that protect your body against oxidative damage and other harmful substances. You also need these for muscle recovery. You get most vitamins from vegetables and fruit, so it is important to continue to eat enough vegetables. About 600 grams of fruit and vegetables per day is sufficient.
Proteins are necessary for building and repairing your muscles. Without protein, you have muscle pain for longer and you also build muscle less quickly. Proteins contain many amino acids that are the building blocks of various things in your body, including the cell structure of your muscles. You get protein from legumes (which also contain full carbohydrates), meat, fish, and some vegetables. Between 1.3 and 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is sufficient for most athletes. In professional athletes or athletes in a rest period, 1.8 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight may be sufficient to maintain the muscles.
4. Sports and nutrition: Water
Water is important for everyone, but athletes, in particular, should make sure that they get enough fluids. You sweat a lot during exercise and you also lose water when you urinate. You also need this fluid to properly control the various processes in your body. Depending on your age, weight, height, and the intensity of the sport, you need different amounts of fluids. Between 150 ml and 300 ml of water per 15 minutes of exercise is sufficient. In longer sports, such as endurance sports, it is also important to get enough electrolytes. Also, make sure that you do not drink too much per hour, but divide your fluid intake over the entire day.