Nutrition for Athletes: Better Health Means Better Hoops

orangebasketballIt’s March Madness!

So, for basketball players and other athletes, one determining factor between becoming a good player and a great player is your diet. Optimum performance requires sound nutritional habits to keep your body fueled and focused.

Want to play like the athletes competing in the big college basketball tournament this month? Fuel your body with these three core nutrients and you’ll be on your way toward improving your overall health and your performance – in sports and in life.

Water: During physical activity, we often sweat a great amount. It’s important for players to stay adequately hydrated before, during and after practices and games. Failure to rehydrate will not only affect performance, but can cause dehydration as well.  Here are some simple steps all athletes can follow to ensure they’re adequately hydrated for all types of activity levels:

  • Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
  • Drink two glasses of water before games or practice
  • Drink a glass of water every 15 to 30 minutes during workouts or games

Carbohydrates: Due to the stop and go nature of the game, carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for playing basketball. Once carbohydrate supplies in the body become depleted, we often experience decreased speed, quickness, reaction time and mental focus. Therefore, it’s vital for players to show up to games fully fueled with good carbohydrates. Examples of quality carbohydrate foods for fitness include bananas, oranges, dried fruits, carrots, pastas, baked potatoes and whole grain breads.

Protein: Just as important as carbohydrates, protein helps build and repair muscles and keeps players strong in the game. High-protein snacks fuel the body and prepare athletes for vigorous activity on the court. Basketball players should aim to eat heavier proteins such as meat and dairy in the morning or immediately following a game or practice. Examples of good sources of protein include lean poultry, low-fat dairy, fish, lean beef, shellfish, and legumes.

Don’t forget that Juice Plus+ Complete is a great source of top quality protein and carbs before and after physical activity.