What Are The Best Fruits For Sports People ?

Fruit for sports. An Asian gril running on a road looking really happy.
Raise the fruit consumption to get the most from performance. Photo by blackzheep, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fruit has always been acknowledged as good for you whatever your physical status or level of fitness. They are rich sources of vitamins and minerals and a number of nutrients which have considerable benefit on various tissues and organs. What are sports people most interested in ? Most likely great muscle tone, good heart and general cardiovascular health, strong brain functioning and a secure immune system. This also applies to any of us seeking great health but for athletes, probably these four function of fruits are crucial for winning that gold medal.

Athletes need to optimise nutrition for peak performance. When you leave out the fruit from the diet then all you can expect is fatigue, poor physical work-out, lack of drive and worse, ineffective recovery and resilience especially in the joints and muscle. There are some fruits though which have properties which are sought after over others.

Bananas

Bananas. How many times have you seen tennis players and soccer stars have a banana ? Alan Rough who was Scotland’s goalie in the seventies and eighties used to eat a banana even during the game. Never did him any harm !

Bananas are rich in potassium which is needed by all cells to maintain osmotic balance an especially for nerve conduction. Where would we be without good eye to hand coordination. Only your nerves can really deliver that and without the key electrolytes like potassium we soon suffer. Muscle weakness, cramps, tiredness and lethargy are due to low potassium levels. Severely low levels of potassium and we see abnormal heart conditions like palpitations and even muscular paralysis. A balanced diet should provide all we need according to the Linus Pauling Institute at the Oregon State University .

The trouble is lots of severe or intense exercise means we sweat and perspire out essential electrolytes. Potassium seems to be less likely to be replaced than sodium, so any food like a banana will replenish what has been taken out. Bananas are also great source of carbohydrates like starch – that’s a secure and readily absorbed source of energy for aching muscles.

Raisins

Raisins are full of sugar especially fructose. Most athletes will use glucose supplements before, during and after boost their energy and up weight the performance. Not that long ago it was found that raisins could do as well as sports gels in raising performance standards. They are certainly less expensive and also provide nutrients like potassium, iron and fiber.

Oranges

We need vitamin C, not just for keeping scurvy at bay (although who gets that nowadays). Vitamin C is needed for preserving immunity, fighting inflammation and also improving iron take up by the body. The vitamin is also a critical requirement for reducing the time particular symptoms of diseases like cold and flu for example take hold. There is plenty of vitamin C in many fruits like the berries and also beans, lentils, even potato skins. Female athletes can suffer more from iron deficiency so it pays to feed on fruits that help reverse this and encourage uptake.

Vitamin C is also needed for collagen production so that tendons and ligaments are fully functioning and repaired after exercise. It is also used by immune cells to fight off infection – colds, flu etc. all benefit.

Oranges are also a source of carbohydrates and being so juicy, plenty of water. That helps reduce fatigue and keep level of hydration high enough for bouts of intense exercise.

Strawberries

These fruits are also rich in vitamin C. Another fact about vitamin C is that it is said to reduce the effects of bruising by enhancing iron and folate absorption. There is a some fiber is strawberries so there is a prebiotic and blood sugar controlling effect as well.

Tart Cherries

Studies at Northumbria University demonstrated that a good drink of tart cherry juice will alleviate the symptoms of muscle soreness. It’s not entirely clear why but cherries like Montmorency are rich in anthocyanins, polyphenols, various acids and other componentry which all have a positive benefit on health. Polyphenols may well be at the heart of the benefits and there is plenty of evidence suggesting that in fact, any fruit rich in polyphenols should be of benefit especially in the post-recovery phase when muscles need plenty of help to come back.

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1 Comment

  1. You could have a bit more writing on this article. I think the red fruits aspect is really important in general well-being and not just for sports people. Please please do some writing.

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