Five grocery items that should be on every athlete’s pantry
By Ea Francisco
Being an athlete isn’t just about training and workouts. You also have to worry about your diet. What you eat can make or break you, so you have to make sure you only shop for what will help you. These grocery item list is a step in the right direction.
A lot of athletes eat a banana either before, during, and after workouts because it’s loaded with potassium, an especially important nutrient for athletes. Potassium works with sodium to regulate body fluids and electrolytes, and these minerals are easily lost while sweating. A banana has roughly 450 grams of potassium or 13 percent of your daily needs. Along with 30 grams of carbohydrates, it’s a convenient and portable source of energy for athletes on the move. It’s also a flexible ingredient that can be made into cakes, used as topping, or even blended into a protein smoothie.
Oatmeal is long a staple in the athlete diet. It’s high in complex carbohydrates and soluble fibers, which help remove cholesterol in the blood stream. Oatmeal also has a low glycemic index that sustains energy levels for a longer period of time. Half a cup contain at least seven grams of protein, so you can easily make your protein drinks without the use of powder. The best oatmeals to choose are unflavored and unsweetened but if those are too bland, add fresh fruits like oranges or berries in place of sugar. Some people would even suggest putting vegetables like carrots and zucchinis for extra potassium and fiber.
Seafood is the preferred protein source over red meat, but salmon ranks atop the sea of choices. Aside from protein, it contains a lot of iron and vitamin B12, which are essential for muscle building. Salmon is also high in omega-3 fatty acids and bioactive peptides. These help control inflammation in the body and improve joint movement. For an athlete, this means less chances of getting injured. If salmon isn’t that accessible to you, you can always get tuna, sardines, or milkfish. All of these fish have about the same amount of nutrient and omega-3 content.
While a lot of people think of eggs as cholesterol balls, there’s more to it than that. Eggs contain a lot of easily absorbable protein; a single egg gives you 12 percent of your daily requirements. Eggs rank the highest in terms of protein content that even the World Health Organization uses it as a standard reference. Eggs are also high in iron, which has an effect on sports performance if athletes don’t get enough of it. But because of the amount of cholesterol, limits intake to only one or two eggs a day. Usually, people only recommend eating the white part. Actually, half the protein can be found in the yolk, and the best and healthiest way to have it is by either boiling or poaching. This ensures that you won’t be adding other things like milk or butter, which adds calories and fat.
One of the best sources of energy, this starchy vegetable is a must for any athlete. Not only are there a million easy ways to cook it, sweet potatoes are also relatively low in calories but packed with nutrients. Sweet potatoes have the most amount of beta carotene antioxidant than any vegetables and are enough to provide your daily vitamin A intake. It’s also a good source of vitamins B and C while being the only fat-free source of vitamin E. The different colors of the sweet potatoes actually carry with it different nutrient properties. The orange ones give you a lot of vitamin A, and the purple ones have anthocyanins, which have antioxidants with cancer-preventing qualities. The best thing about them is that you can either boil, steam, fry, or blend it and the no nutrients will be lost in the process.