A diet for those engaged in very active sports activity is
one which involves eating for energy and for prevention of injuries which are
often due to nutritional deficiencies. This translates into a diet of
approximately 65% complex carbohydrates, 10 to 15% fat (preferably of vegetable
origin), and 10% protein.
Complex carbohydrates gives the athlete the equivalent of
time released energy necessary to sustain extraordinary effort and combat
fatigue, fatigue being one of the principle causes of injury.
A major cause of fatigue is too much milk and animal
protein and fats in the diet. They are difficult to break down and use up a
great amount of energy for digestion and assimilation. People who have been
eating a junk food diet or one with poor food choices often have weak enzyme
systems, and some proteins and fatty foods may take several days to break down
in this case. Too many athletes rely on fast food for the majority of their
food intake resulting in 60 to 70% of their calories coming from fats.
Traditional diets for athletes consisted of a high
percentage of meat, cheese and milk. Although a steak has a lot of protein it
may also contain as much as 80% fat. A fast food hamburger is higher in fat
than in protein. High fat items that should not be consumed by athletes are:
| Red meat
|| Fried foods
|| Whole milk
| Pork products
|| Butter or margarine
These foods result in:
| Calories & probable weight gain
|| Probable risk factor for injury
| Arterial disease later in life
Recovery from energy is achieved much more rapidly on a
low protein, high complex carbohydrate diet. The energy need of the injury is
usually more important than the protein need, since the protein need is taken
care of with relatively small amounts. Excess protein takes away energy in the
digestion process that is needed for the putting back together of the parts
damaged by injury. Protein is needed to supply the building blocks, but complex
carbohydrates are the most effective way of supplying the energy to put these
building blocks together.
Simple sugars such as white sugar or honey can actually
increase the pain of injuries. Cut out the sugar and the pain of injuries that
do occur will decrease greatly.
When an injury does occur get a fresh pineapple, cut off
the husk, and eat as much of it as you can in one hour. Do this every other
day. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, and this enzyme along with other
nutrients in the fruit, actually help the healing process by breaking down the
injured tissue. Eat the pineapple within an hour of taking off the husk. After
an hour the bromelain loses its effectiveness rapidly.
Along with the pineapple large doses of vitamin B-6 (as
much as 1800 mg. per day) will act as a natural diuretic and help transport
damaged tissue out of the system without affecting mineral balance as do most
diuretics. B-6 also makes the protein in the body more available for tissue
repair. Once the injury is healed drop the B-6 as long term intake of this
amount of the vitamin may damage nerve endings, while short term during
recovery from an injury is very helpful.
Excess salt also leads to changes in metabolism that
increase the potential for injuries and impair wound healing. The average
American is consuming 40 times more salt than needed, most of it in processed
foods where it is often used as a flavor enhancer and a preservative.
Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor - a substance that reduces
blood supply by narrowing blood vessels. Athletes want the blood vessels wide
open to carry all the nutrients to all the muscles, so a reduction of coffee
and most soft drinks is helpful.
Fast food diets in addition to the fat, salt, and sugar
content are deficient in vitamins and minerals. The mineral deficiency can lead
to muscle pulls and cramps.
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids are helpful to the athlete
for several reasons:
· It helps keep the immune system strong under
· It helps maintain collagen-the protein necessary
for the formation of connective tissue.
· It speeds healing. It can cut recovery time by
as much as 75% in a number of wound and surgery situations.
· The bioflavonoids help maintain the strength and
integrity of the capillaries resulting in less bruising and less hemorrhaging
· There is much less soft tissue injury
· There are fewer sprains
· There are fewer muscle problems and
A zinc supplement greatly speeds up healing and
regeneration of damaged connective tissue. Surgical incisions close up cleaner
A magnesium supplement aids in healing cartilage injuries
of the knee, and in the cartilage strains of the shoulder joints.
A calcium supplement helps prevent muscle cramping.
Vitamin E helps reduce inflammation and increases blood
flow to injury sites. It also extends the available usage time for the oxygen
necessary for healthy cells and increases the amount of energy available.
Omega 3 fatty acids help prevent build up fat in the
circulatory system, thin the blood for better transport of nutrients, and
protect against various inflammatory problems, including those resulting from
SUMMARY OF THE ATHLETE'S DIET
65% COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES - vegetables,
fruits, and grains either raw, cooked at low heat, or in the case of grains
with a high whole grain content
10 to 15% FAT - preferably of
vegetable origin, though even if you stick to low fat sources of protein you
will still get some fat
10% PROTEIN - in meats stick to
fish or fowl or lamb. Tofu is a good source of protein. A good quality protein
powder with a P.E.R. of at least 2.7 will provide a good balance of all the
amino acids, and if properly designed from multiple sources (a pure soy protein
is difficult to digest and poorly assimilated) should require little energy for
MULTI-VITAMIN + MINERALS
OXYGEN ENHANCING NUTRIENTS - a formula
containing Potassium, Magnesium, Alpha Ketogluturate, Inosine, Malic Acid,
Ferulic Acid, Trimethylglycine, and Coenzyme Q10 taken sublingually
30 minutes before competition.
VITAMIN E - 800 I.U.
Selenium - 100 to 300 mcg
B-COMPLEX - 2 to 3 tablets 1/2 to
three hours before exercise.
VITAMIN C WITH BIOFLAVONOIDS -
2,000 to 4,000 mg. of vitamin C in a formula rich in bioflavonoids.
CALCIUM/MAGNESIUM - 600 mg. of
calcium and 400 mg.
ZINC WITH VITAMIN A - 30 mg. per
day taken in the morning. Do not take at the same time as calcium/magnesium as
they will tend to neutralize each other.
OMEGA 3 FISH OIL CAPSULES - 2 per