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Best things to eat to stay healthy

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Seth Sinclair, Staff Reporter

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Eating healthy and regular exercise are some of the best things a person can do to keep his/her body in shape. Diet and exercise are critical to a competitive athlete’s performance.

What an athlete consumes relates directly to how he/she will compete and perform. An athlete’s diet should be based around the sport he plays. For example, a long-distance runner ideally packs in healthy carbs for energy.

“Long-distance runners should be eating plenty of carbs and protein,” track and field Coach Medrano said. “For breakfast, foods like hash browns and toast are filled with carbs and energy that runners need.”

Carbs are sugar-based molecules so the body can use them to make glucose. This glucose is then stored in the liver and muscles as something called glycogen. Glycogen molecules function as a reserve energy storage, and the body can tap into this energy when required.

Of course, not all carbohydrates are equally good for competitors. Whole-grain products generally have more things in them that are beneficial, like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Whole-grain breads, pasta, crackers, and cereals that are low in fat and sugar should be high on an athlete’s shopping list. Likewise, fruits and vegetables provide necessary nutrients for athletes; such as beans and legumes which are excellent sources of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Carbs give athletes a natural source of endurance and speed to aid their performance.

Processed carbs are not as healthy or beneficial. They take slower for the body to digest and absorb. For example, white bread and white rice are among the list of “bad” carbs. They’re not high in fiber which in turn causes them to take longer to digest. Too much added sugar in refined carbs can contribute to weight gain, which is not a good thing for sports players.

Athletes should be aiming for foods that are high in protein and natural carbs. Both give players a natural boost of energy for greater endurance. Contestants should do all they can to stay completely away from refined or processed carbs with a lot of sugar or caloric sweeteners which add nothing good to their condition. Whole-grain foods, fruits, and vegetables (including beans) are some of the best foods an athlete can eat before the big game.

 

  

 

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Best things to eat to stay healthy