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The Athlete's Diet


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
 Cheese  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  Tendonitis

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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 stress

· 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 around sprains.

· There is much less soft tissue injury

· There are fewer sprains

· There are fewer muscle problems and tendonitis

A zinc supplement greatly speeds up healing and regeneration of damaged connective tissue. Surgical incisions close up cleaner and faster.

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 injuries.

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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 digestion.


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.


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