Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Way to Go
If you want to push your body and increase performance levels, you need a diet that supports you. You need foods which fuel you to achieve your goals and put forth your best effort, no matter what the sport or activity. One such diet is known as the Paleo diet for athletes, and here are the reasons why it is a good choice.
High in Protein
Athletes need protein in order to build lean, useful muscles that will be able to support the body in fitness activities. The Paleo diet for athletes is rich in protein from both meat and vegetable sources. While the amount of protein needed may vary depending on the sport, athletes can adjust their intake with no shortage of protein options. When combining the Paleo diet with moderate strength training, you are able to achieve increased muscle tone.
Healthy Carbohydrates: A Must When on the Paleo Diet for Athletes
The Paleo diet for athletes does not allow refined carbohydrates such as pastas and bread, but instead allows healthy whole carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. The carbs obtained can provide the glycogen (stored sugar needed for energy) athletes need, while also supplying them with vitamins, minerals and fiber. These carbohydrates are recommended before and after workouts, in order to maintain glycogen stores.
Next up is the fat component. The Paleo diet for athletes includes healthy fats which promote a balanced weight and sustainable energy. They can also help clear brain fog, allowing athletes to be more attentive for their activities. The fats which can be eaten on the Paleo diet include polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats from natural sources. Examples of mono and polyunsaturated foods include options like almonds, avocados, macadamia nuts and olive oil, while saturated fat can be supplied from coconut oil. By incorporating these into the diet before a workout or tournament, athletes can get the power they need to endure for longer periods of time.
Good Amount of Fiber
The fruits and vegetables which are part of the Paleo diet for athletes, provide plenty of dietary fiber so the body’s digestive system can work regularly. This is important so that the body can extract nutrients, remove toxins and to avoid any irritation due to digestion issues. When fiber is insufficient, the digestive system is slowed and immune system function weakens. A weakened immune system can be a problem for some athletes, especially those involved in endurance activities. As long as athletes maintain a balance between meats, fruits and vegetables, they will have the appropriate amount of fiber. Additionally, the diversity of carbohydrate based foods on the Paleo diet for athletes allows for the selection of fibers such that not too much fiber is consumed prior to an activity, yet the carbohydrate needs are met.
Better Long Term Recovery
Joe Friel, a U.S. Olympic triatholon coach and author said, “[Paleo offers] better long-term recovery, due to greater micronutrient content [than a standard high-starch and sugar diet], allowing the athlete to train with a greater stress load.” This is helpful for athletes as they can train hard and rest assured their diet will help to replenish their bodies afterwards.
Slight Exceptions May be Needed
The main goal is to divide an athlete’s diet into stages. Most of the athlete’s meal should follow the basic Paleo diet, but before, during and right after a workout adjustments may be needed. Almost two hours before a long workout or game, an athlete should eat a meal with a high glycemic index and low fiber matter. Post activity, adequate protein is needed to initiate adequate recovery.
In conclusion, the Paleo diet for athletes is a great way to eat if you are very active. The components support the body during and after exercise, helping athletes can perform to their full potential.