Carbohydrates is a nutrient long ignored and made debatable by people across the globe. This potent nutrient helps achieve peak performance along with completing other physical activities. Many people have the misconception that they should shy away from carbs in order to maintain their fitness. They believe that excluding carbs from their diet will help stay at bay from gaining unwanted fats and therefore continue neglecting it. However, not many know that carbs are also a source that works wonders to get back in shape, along with providing every athlete enough energy to sustain rigorous physical activities.
Carbohydrates comprise of sugar, starch and fibre that contribute to enhance metabolism and spare protein from breaking down to synthesise glucose. It is vital to fuel the body with sufficient energy required to reach the finish line. Therefore, nutrition experts recommend athletes to include 45 - 65 percent of carbs in their daily diet. Those consuming less than 130 g of carbohydrates tend to allow protein in the body break down and make glucose to provide energy instead of recovering muscles. Also, there are many other advantages of adding good healthy carbs for enhanced performance of an athlete as well as the wellbeing of an individual:
- It plays a major role in regulating blood sugar levels like Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia
- It helps eliminate the chances of converting fats into ketones that are toxic to the body
- It helps delay fatigue allowing an athlete to perform for longer duration and at higher levels
- It helps improve memory contributing to an athlete’s focus progress during performance
- It helps reduce the risk of injuries in athletes and supports them mentally and physically
Timing is key when it comes to eating carbohydrate foods for athletes. Experts recommend maintaining the frequency, balance and timing depending on his trainings, lifestyle, age and so on so forth. A few foods that are perfect for consumption before and after a workout, or as regular snacks include:
1. Bananas: Easy to eat and quick to digest, bananas are the love of life of every health enthusiast and sportspersons. Rich in fast acting carbohydrates, the fruit can be consumed solely pre and post exercise or with certain supplements like protein to enhance results.
2. Whole Grain Bread: Unlike other low-quality bread, whole grain breads are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They can be clubbed with sandwiches or also be enjoyed with spreads like peanut butter, mayo and more.
3. Legumes: High in complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre, legumes are perfect additions to salads, soups, casserole and more. It is however suggested to not consume legumes before a training to avoid the chances of gas, bloating and other abdominal discomforts.
4. Berries: Whether an athlete or a sedentary, fruits are a must for every individual and berries are among them. Rich in antioxidant, berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and others help maintain the immune system and the presence of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) works to destroy free radicals.
5. Whole Wheat Pasta: Yes you read that right! A cup of whole wheat pasta offers good carbs for energy and insoluble fibre that has proven to reduce the chances of breast cancer. For a healthy plate of all nutrients, one can add vegetables, chicken and other healthy options to enjoy a scrumptious meal.
Many teenagers are misguided saying that they should consider a low-carb and high protein diet. No wonder, this results in loss of energy and degraded performance gradually. Therefore, don’t skimp on this wondrous nutrient and choose the ideal foods to help you keep going.