Eating Healthy in Athletics

Essay by james123089Junior High, 9th gradeA+, January 2005

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Whether it's playing football, basketball or running, athletes need to eat a nutritious, balanced diet to fuel their body. Good nutrition, like any sporting event, has basic ground rules. Following these rules and getting plenty of practice will help athletes feel great and score those winning points.

It is important that an athlete's diet provides the right amount of energy, which includes 50-plus nutrients and adequate water. No single food or supplement can do this. A variety of foods are needed every day.

Every athlete needs a diet that provides enough energy in the form of carbohydrates and fats as well as essential protein, vitamins and minerals. Health and nutrition professionals recommend that 55-60% of the calories in our diet come from carbohydrate, no more than 30% from fat and the remaining 10-15% from protein.

Competitive athletes, inactive individuals and people who exercise for health and fitness all need the same nutrients.

However, because of the intensity of their sport or training program, some athletes have higher calorie and fluid requirements. Eating a variety of foods to meet increased calorie needs helps to ensure that the athletes diet contains appropriate amounts of carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals.

This translates into eating grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, lean meats, and low fat dairy products. The base of the diet should come from carbohydrates. Fluids, especially water, are also important to the diet. Dehydration can stop even the finest athlete from playing his or her best game.

Sodium and potassium are the two electrolytes most often added to sports drinks. Generally, electrolyte replacement is not needed during short bursts of exercise since sweat is approximately 99% water and less than 1% electrolytes. Water, with a well-balanced diet, will restore normal fluid and electrolyte levels in the body. However, replacing electrolytes...