Reggie Rullan-Borromeo, Manila, Philippines

NOVEMBER 7, 2014

Eating for reckless pleasure overlooks the inherent nutritional value of food. Food fuels the body’s the energy needs and nurse’s one back to health. Taking food beyond the sensory experience, allows one to maximize its benefits.

Making deliberate choices in what one eats not only provides momentary pleasure but also long term benefits. After all each one has only been given one body and sooner or later, one’s food history will determine one’s health.

For any athlete, foods that build the muscle; make one more energetic and move faster; develop endurance; heal injuries and help restore the over all efficiency of the body, ensure better performance and staying power in a particular sport. What then must an athlete eat? While protein is an important part of an athlete’s diet to build the muscles, excess protein combined with fat slows down one’s performance as the digestive system will use up one’s energy in processing it.

Eating the right protein is essential and the sources include lean cuts of meat taken in moderate portions. Red meats contain a higher fat content than white meat, thus, the former must be taken in smaller portions. Fish and poultry without the skin contain less fat and is a better source of one’s regular protein intake. Tofu and legumes are also alternative sources of protein which just like everything else must also be taken in moderation.

Energy building foods are complex carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits that are eaten in a state of optimum nutrition, this means eating them as close to their raw state as possible. Next time one gets a hunger rush, reaching for a banana or apple will fuel one’s energy better than processed wheat or starch based snacks. Even munching on a carrot, cucumber or celery stick will not only do wonders for one’s energy but also for one’s waistline.

Even an athlete needs some fat and the sources of fat must be carefully identified to minimize health risks. Olive and other vegetable oils and fish oils are recommended over animal fat, which includes dairy fat. But oil is still oil, thus moderation is not the key, rather minimization. Total eradication of fat from the diet is not recommended as the body still needs fat to provide insulation and to function properly. Fats not only help store energy, it also transports vitamins within the body and are vital components of the brain, skin, and organs of the body.

Making the right food choices will then allow one to not only enjoy the taste and texture of food, its sight and smell, it will also make food one’s building blocks and injury repair kit for better sports performance. As Hippocrates had famously said thousands of years ago: “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

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