3 Whole Food Recommendations for Young Athletes
When making sports nutrition recommendations, I tend to favor the collateral benefits, lower costs, and the "knowing what you are getting", of whole food sources rather than individual vitamin or nutrient preparations.
I was energized to share the podium at the 2015 CHOC Children's RD's in Practice: Pediatric Sports Nutrition Conference with some truly amazing colleagues, and in reviewing their handouts, I found some new whole food thoughts that I felt needed to be shared.
I want to give full credit to both Shondra and Jessica Brown of CHOC Children's Sports Nutrition Program for organizing the conference, and to Becci Twombley, RD, CSSD who presented on the following important food sources for young athletes:
- Importance of Whey Protein and Leucine
- Whey protein is a quickly digested protein which can lead to more immediate muscle recovery
- Whey protein is also high in the amino acid leucine, which can be decreased 30% after high intensity exercise
- Good sources of whey protein (and thus leucine) include Greek Yogurt, eggs, steak and milk.
- Yet another nod for Chocolate Milk as a post-exercise recovery beverage- not only do you get the whey protein and leucine, but the associated carbohydrates enhance the protein absorption and don't forget the calcium and Vitamin D!
- Make a Beeline for Beets
- High in betalines and beta-carotenes which include anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties for boosting immunity
- Beets also have a high content of nitrates which increase nutrient delivery through augmented blood flow to working muscle, allowing for more efficient exercise
- Best to eat either beet juice shots or 3-5 raw or juiced beets 2 1/2 hours before training (prolonged cooking of beets kill the betalines)
- Probiotics for health of your digestive tract
- Probiotics are live micro-organisms in the digestive tract that support absorption of nutrients and enhance immune function
- Use of probiotics can reduce both the number of days and overall severity of respiratory illnesses
- A solid probiotic source is none other than Greek yogurt....1/2 to 1 cup either daily or every other day will also give you that whey/leucine fix mentioned above and further stress the importance of whole food nutrition sources!