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Top 10 Highly Nutritious Food for a Sportsperson | Enhance Your Athletic Performance

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To perform at any level, an athlete needs energy: energy to play, to think, to recover, and to sleep. The human body consumes energy and the food chain helps replenish this lost energy. The right diet can make all the difference, transforming your athletic abilities and pushing you beyond your limits. From enhancing endurance to promoting muscle recovery, nutritious foods are the key that unlocks your athletic potential. But with a myriad of information available, navigating the best nutrition for athletes can be overwhelming. Fear not! In this guide, you will find out the top 10 highly nutritious food specifically for athletes.

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Top 10 Nutritious Foods for a Sportsperson

S.N Items Nutrients
1 Kidney Beans Vitamins and minerals, such as molybdenum, folate, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, and vitamin K1
2 Chickpea Rich in fiber and protein
3 Date Vitamins and minerals including calcium, vitamin K, and magnesium are all needed for healthy bones.
4 Sweet Potato Rich source of fiber as well as containing an array of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, selenium, and they’re a good source of most of our B vitamins and vitamin C.
5 Carrot Full of vitamins, minerals, highly rich in Vit. A
6 Banana Bananas are highly rich in potassium. It can instantly fuel the body.
7 Eggs rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12, and minerals such as zinc, iron, and copper. Egg yolks contain more calories and fat than the whites
8 Tomato Tomatoes contain all three high-powered antioxidants: beta-carotene (which has vitamin A activity in the body), vitamin E, and vitamin C.
9 Beet Root Low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate, and vitamin C
10 Guava Rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber

Nutritious food for athletes: Kidney Beans

Nutritious Diet for Sportsperson | KreedOn
Best Nutritious Food : Kidney Pea

Rajma is the king of beans. Combining rajma and rice gives a complete amino acid profile to an athlete. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and kidney beans help in the synthesis of muscles. Many players have erratic sugar levels which lower concentration. Kidney beans help moderate sugar levels with their fiber and amylase inhibitors. Cane beans are safe and an excellent option for traveling athletes who need a quick, safe, and healthy protein snack. Consume best at breakfast or post-workout. To avoid gas make sure the beans are well boiled in a pressure cooker for at least 15 minutes.

Kidney Beans Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100g
Water 67%
Protein 8.7 g
Carbs 22.8 g
Sugar 0.3 g
Fiber 6.4 g
Fat 0.5 g
Calories 127

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Nutritious food for athletes: Chickpea

Chickpea KreedOn Best Nutritious Food
Best Nutritious Food : Chickpeas

Chana, both black and white contains about 19% protein. With a very high Folic acid content chickpeas can help athletes produce faster red blood cells. Most athletes with their high-intensity training damage their blood and DNA.  Eating chickpeas every day helps in fast healing and recovery.  In India, the famous chana masala is one dish no athlete should turn down.

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Chickpea Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100 g
Protein 14 g
Fat 4 g
Carbohydrates 44 g, including 7 g of sugar
Fiber 12 g

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Nutritious food for athletes: Date

Nutrition for athletes | Diet for sportsperson - KreedOn
Best Nutritious Food : Dates

Ancient soldiers marched into battle with dates or ‘Khajoor’. Easy to carry and densely packed with iron, calcium, potassium, and other minerals, this tiny fruit means business. The best time to consume 8-10 dates is during long hours of training. Athletes do get hungry and need to munch on high-energy reserve food. When athletes have low hemoglobin or iron levels which cause fatigue they need to switch to a high date snacking diet.

Date Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100g
Copper 18%
Protein 2 g
Carbs 75 g
Magnesium 14%
Fiber 7 g
Potassium 20%
Calories 277
Manganese 15%

Nutritious food for athletes: Sweet Potato

Nutrition for athletes | Diet for sportsperson - KreedOn
Best Nutritious Food : Sweet Potato

While normal potatoes post-training help recharge muscle glycogen, sweet potato is like Usain Bolt for recovery.  Quick to recharge your reserves, sweet potato is often missed out due to its bland taste. With one of the highest vitamin A servings, athletes shouldn’t think twice about adding it to their meals. Vitamin A helps in better lung function, boosting lung capacity as well as jump-starting the athlete’s immune system. My favorite is using sweet potato as a soup base or mashing it into your parathas.

Sweet Potato Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100g
Sodium 55 mg
Protein 1.6 g
Carbs 20 g
Magnesium 6%
Vitamin C 4%
Potassium 337 mg
Calories 86
Iron 3%

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Nutritious food for athletes: Carrot

nutrition for athletes - KreedOn
Best Nutritious Food : Carrot

Very rarely do I see color on an athlete’s plate.  The orange of carrots contains beta-carotene that helps in recovery. Vitamin K is an important agent that helps in the clotting of blood. Athletes get injured and Vitamin K helps in quick recovery. Cooked carrots are the best for the absorption of their nutrients. For dessert, I advise carrot halwa as an acceptable cheat meal for an athlete.  The fiber in carrots helps prevent constipation.

Carrot Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100g
Fiber 2 g
Protein .5 g
Carbs 6 g
Sugar 3 g
Fat .2 g
Vitamin A 872
Calories 25
Potassium 174

Nutritious food for athletes: Banana

Nutritious Diet for Sportsperson | KreedOn
Best Nutritious Food : Banana

This fruit needs no introduction. Small or large, it’s available around the year and is light on an athlete’s pocket. Besides, it is extremely handy to carry and comes in its own wrapper. Bananas can be eaten before, during, and after training. Research has shown that dopamine in bananas can calm an athlete.  When training hard, an athlete’s blood pressure peaks, which does not sometimes allow an athlete to think clearly. Banana helps keep your brain cool and powers your muscles.

Banana Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100g
Water 75%
Protein 1.1 g
Carbs 23 g
Sugar 12 g
Fat .3 g
Fiber 2.6 g
Calories 89
Potassium 358 mg

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Nutritious food for athletes: Eggs

Nutrition for athletes | Diet for sportsperson - KreedOn
Best Nutritious Food : Eggs

Packed with 6 grams of protein within a fragile shell, the egg is like an atomic bomb in the field of nutrition. Athletes should try to add 3-6 eggs a day to their diet.  The egg has a Vitamin B complex along with a powerful mineral called Selenium, which is a key antioxidant. Athletes suffer severe microscopic trauma to their muscles on a daily basis. The combination of good quality protein and vitamins helps enhance the recovery process.  Eggs should always be consumed cooked. Raw eggs do not allow digestion of the Vitamin B complex, and as such makes the protein synthesis in the body drop.

Egg Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100g
Sodium 142 mg
Protein 12.6
Carbs .7 g
Sugar .4 g
Fat 9.5 g
Iron 1.75 g
Calcium 56 mg
Potassium 138 mg

Tomato

Tomato KreedOn Best Nutritious Food
Best Nutritious Food : Tomato

The red in tomatoes comes from lycopene. Research has shown that lycopene boosts lung function. So eating more of this fruit, commonly known as vegetables, will enhance your endurance levels in training. I suggest knocking out the seeds. Cooked tomatoes have a higher content of lycopene. And a lot of athletes love me as I advise them to have loads of tomato sauce. Lycopene is also known to aid growth hormone and so tomato juice for younger athletes is No.1 on my prescription list of beverages.

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Tomato Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100g
Water 95%
Protein .9 g
Carbs 3.6 g
Fiber 1.3 g
Fat .5 g
Sugar 3.6 g
Vitamin C 15 mg

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Beetroot

Nutrition for athletes | Diet for sportsperson - KreedOn
Best Nutritious Food : Beetroot

Since the London Olympics, I have always been enamored of this ‘Red Giant’.  I love this vegetable because of its nitrate content and its ability to dilate blood vessels.  For the athlete this means large blood vessels when exercising- it delivers more oxygen, glucose, amino acid, and salts to the muscles whilst removing a greater volume of carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Research has shown that exercise exhaustion decreases and the oxygen saturation in the blood increase by supplementing beetroot in the diet.  For me, eating 2 beetroot plain is mandatory. It can be had as chips, cooked, baked, or as juice. Blend beetroot in lemonade to ease the harsh taste.  My personal favorite is beetroot halwa. The best time to have beetroot is 3 hours prior to practice.

Beetroot Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100g
Water 88%
Calories 44
Carbs 9.6 g
Fiber 2.8 g
Fat .2 g
Sugar 9.6 g
Protein 1.6 g
Protein 1.6 g

Guava

Nutritious Food KreedOn
Best Nutritious Food : Guava

Amrut is the king of fruits in my book.  With Vitamin C levels in Supersonic Orbit, every athlete should have this to help in recovery and to boost immunity. When athletes are injured, I ask them to eat 3 guavas a day for fast healing. Also, one of the high protein-containing fruits, guava should be eaten with the seeds as they help in better bowel movement. Athletes consume too many calories via proteins and carbs. However, the system of digestion slows down. Guava ensures clean digestion, not to mention clearer skin for all those brand endorsements.

There are dozens of foods that an athlete requires. These, when added to your meals, enhance the ability of your body. Indian red leafy vegetables are my favorite that does not make it to my top 10 list. This is because, like rice, dal, and curd which are considered a staple, I add green and red leafy vegetables as key ingredients in an athlete’s daily meal. My sincere advice for all warriors in their games: eat with a plan, know your foods and try to get organic as much as possible.

Guava Nutrition

Nutrients Amount in 100g
Calories 37
Carbs 8
Fiber 3 g
Fat 1 g
Sugar 5 g
Protein 1 g
Protein 1.6 g

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FAQ’s

Why is nutrition important for sportspersons?

A nutritious diet plays a vital role in the lives of sportspersons as it supplies the necessary fuel for their bodies to achieve peak performance. Adequate nutrition not only ensures optimal energy levels but also improves endurance, fosters muscle development, and repair, and amplifies overall athletic capabilities.

What are some key nutrients that sportspersons should focus on?

It is very important to prioritize crucial nutrients including carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates serve as a source of energy, proteins contribute to muscle repair and growth, fats provide sustained energy and support vital bodily functions, and vitamins and minerals are essential for overall health and recovery.

How can carbohydrates benefit sportspersons?

Diets including carbohydrates serve as the predominant energy source for the body, particularly during rigorous physical exertion. They rapidly fuel the muscles, improve endurance, and aid in preventing fatigue. It is very important nutrition for athletes.

What are some pre and post-workout nutrition guidelines for athletes?

Before workout, it is recommended that athletes consume a meal or snack abundant in carbohydrates and a moderate portion of protein. This combination effectively provides the necessary energy and supports optimal muscle performance. After completing a workout, it is advised to consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein to aid in muscle recovery and replenish energy stores that were depleted during exercise.

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Ryan Fernando
Ryan Fernando
Ryan Fernando is an award-winning celebrity sports nutrition coach with 2 GUINNESS world record and 2 Olympic medals under his belt. He is the CEO & Chief Nutritionist at Qua Nutrition Signature Clinics. He is also the author of the book “Eating Secrets of Champions”, a leading sports nutrition book in India.

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