A healthy diet helps improve an athlete’s performance. All the intense workouts and drills, like combining cardio and strength training, will just go to waste if not complemented with proper nourishment.
Athletes face a mind and body challenge with every workout and every practice run. You just can’t go on without the power boost of proper nutrition.
Carbohydrates, protein, and fluids, consumed in the right forms and quantities, constitute the foundation of an athlete’s performance diet. “Carbo-loading” has often been considered the way to go, but an athlete’s diet needs balance like any other.
Not all carbs are created equal, as potatoes are king in specific nutritional benefits athletes need.
Perhaps you can recall that I have already written about this last year? (Potato As An Athletes’ Diet Essential). I am a fan of potatoes and I try to incorporate them in my pre and post-workout meals and here are just some of the reasons why:
Potatoes are nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates. A medium-sized, skin-on U.S. potato, about 5.3 oz., provides 26 grams of carbohydrates and 620 mg. of potassium.
The body actually stores carbohydrates, but it’s not unlimited. It’s important to replenish the body’s supply of carbohydrates, especially for high-intensity activities. Carbohydrates provide energy for your muscles and fuel for your brain.
A pretty good example of preparing potatoes the healthy way is to either have them baked, grilled, roasted or boiled. I usually prepare mine by putting some olive oil, then bake it in the oven
CUT POTATOES INTO STRIPS, BRUSH IT WITH A LITTLE OLIVE OIL AND BAKE IN THE OVEN TO MAKE YOUR OWN FRIES.
And speaking of nutrients, a medium-sized U.S. potato also has higher potassium content than a banana. Potassium is needed for proper muscle, cardiovascular and nervous system function. It’s a nutrient that can minimize the risk of hypertension and support bone health. As an electrolyte, potassium helps athletes maintain fluid balance, which can help prevent dehydration after a strenuous exercise.
Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and maintains a healthy immune system. Vitamin C helps fight off colds and viruses. Potatoes are also a good source of Vitamin B6 and contain protein and fiber.
With only 110 calories in each medium U.S. potato, athletes will find a highly nutritious, low-calorie superfood that can be consumed daily. These power-packed potatoes are readily available in local supermarkets.
When enjoyed in moderation and prepared in a healthy way, potatoes can definitely be a nutritious addition to your diet. So simply add potatoes to your meal routines, just like I do!