Injuries can disrupt an athlete’s workout program for a long time and mar performances. This is why many athletes do all in their best effort to avoid injuries, no matter how small. While some athletes attempt to prevent injuries through deliberate medical attention, sports nutrition also offers several ways to prevent injuries using a nutritional approach.
Sports nutrition can help reduce your risk of developing injuries no matter the sports categories you participate in. Here are some sport nutritional guidelines that can help you stay out of injuries for a long time.
- Eat plenty of carbohydrates and protein every day
Sport nutrition experts recommend that eating foods that are highly rich in carbohydrates and protein can help reduce your risk of developing exercise-related injuries.
Carbohydrates serve as natural fuel for everyday exercising. When there’s a low dietary intake of carbohydrates in your body, the body would have to break down muscle protein and convert it to fuel supplies required for daily exercise. Hence, low carbohydrates in the body can reduce your strength and may damage your muscle tissues, resulting in poor athletic performance.
Protein is as well an essential nutrient in sports nutrition. It is essential for muscle growth, repair, and maintenance. Muscle protein breaks down whenever you engage your body in strength and endurance training. So, there’s a high need for you to eat high-quality dietary protein foods to help you repair any muscle damaged in the course of constant exercising. Studies showed that protein makes athletes more active in their daily athletic activities. Another study proved that amount of protein you eat (whether high or low) plays a very important role in your muscle growth and repair.
To maximize your chance of being free from injuries, eat a sufficient amount of carbohydrates and protein every day.
- Eat essential fats
Excess fat is indeed dangerous to the body, yet that does not mean you will have to completely avoid eating fats. Sports nutrition supports including heart-healthy fats in your daily meals to prevent athletic injuries. Healthy fats supply the body with essential fatty acids like omega 3 acids that the body cannot naturally produce.
Fatty acids are good sources of energy, even more than carbohydrates. They help in building and repairing cell membranes and are very good for the heart. Fatty acids lubricate the joints and tissues, and they help reduce inflammation in the body.
If you want to prevent athletic injuries, shun any sports nutrition guide that excludes dietary fats in your daily training diet. A few good sources of heart-healthy fats include cold-water fishes such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, walnuts, and ground flaxseed.
- Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is an essential part of sports nutrition, especially when it comes to preventing injuries using a nutritional approach. When your joints are dehydrated, they are more vulnerable to tears and injuries at the moment. Dehydration puts your body at higher risks of injuries. It adds heavy stress to the body causing increased internal temperature, sweat rate, heart rate, fatigue, including loss of physical and mental balance.
To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water before, during, and after training sessions. Aside from training sessions, make sure you drink a lot of water throughout, even on days you are not engaged in physical activities.
Adequate fluid intake helps greatly in preventing athletic injuries. Meanwhile, not only water can keep your body hydrated; you can take fruit juice, skimmed milk, and smoothies to improve your fluids intake.
- Take sufficient calcium and vitamin D
Vitamins and calcium are essential nutrients and key elements in sports nutrition. They play innumerable roles in an athlete’s body, including helping you reduce the risk of developing athletic injuries.
Vitamins help in shoring up your bones, healing your wounds, and boost your immune system to prevent you from developing health-threatening ailments. Vitamins also help convert food into energy supplying you with enough strength during your training sessions. Vitamins also help repair cellular damages in the body to aid quick recovery from accidental injuries.
Every athlete needs a sufficient amount of calcium to maintain stronger bones, helping you bring out your best performances both in and off training sessions. Calcium is an important element of any practical sports nutrition plan. As an athlete, your body needs calcium for the effective functioning of muscles and nerves.
Studies showed that athletes that take diets that are high in calcium and vitamin D tend to have a higher bone mineral density (BMD). Those that consume low calcium and vitamin D tend to have a higher risk of stress fractures.
Good calcium and vitamin D sources to include in your daily meals include dairy products such as milk and cheese and fortified foods such as fruit juice.
- Use antioxidants
Sports nutrition promotes adequate use of antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E. Naturally, vitamins C and E protect the body’s cells from damage preventing your body from injury.
Vitamin C repairs the tissues in the body and also helps in the formation of collagen. Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the body, mostly present in the skin, muscles, bones, and tendons. It also provides flexibility and strength ligaments and provides structure.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that helps protect organs and tissues from damage caused by free radicals.
The combination of Vitamin C and E help minimizes damage and help with recovery from workouts and training sessions. Good sources of these tissues repairing vitamins include citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes. You can also get vitamin E in almond butter, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and avocado.
Generally, a basic nutritional approach is essential for preventing athletic injuries. Eating a wide variety of food highly rich in essential nutrients helps supports your bones, muscles, joints, tendons and helps solve any connectives issues that may arise unexpectedly. Higher consumption of whole grain, green vegetables, fresh raw fruit and fruit juice, low-fat dietary products, heart-healthy fats can help you reduce the risk for athletic injuries. Above all, staying hydrated makes the whole work perfect.