Sportsperson are very special as they play for their passion and country. Apart from being physically active they have to look deep into the amount and quality of calories they eat. It is true that they need more energy, calories, carbohydrates than a regular person but the right quality and quantity is very important. Diet of a sportsperson is very crucial because they are playing so body store of nutrition should be such that it help them to meet the requirements during their optimum activity.
On an average a young sports person in the age group of 19-30 years requires 3000kcal of energy which is about 2800kcal for women athletes, beyond 30 years it varies from 2800-3000 kcals for men and 2600-2800 kcal for women which remains high as compared to a regular person. The diet consists of a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, fats along with multi vitamins the importance of which is given below.
Importance of carbohydrates: carbs are the first nutrient to give energy to the body through which brain cells, cornea of the eye and numerous tissues are mainly dependent. For a sportsperson it is very important to undergo carb counting of the days per the intensity and exercise which one do. As carbs are the chief supplier of glucose to the body which provides energy, so constant supply of carbs is very necessary as 55-60%of total calories come from carbs which should be preferably taken in the form of whole grains like rice, wheat and different type of seasonal fruits. Use of refined carbs in diet like white bread will raise the glucose level fast and cause overheating.
Importance of proteins: we know that proteins are building block of the body so they become important for a sportsperson as it helps in building immunity and increase the body stamina to sustain high intensity of activity for a longer period of time. So to build up optimum stamina required for sports 10-15%of total calories should come from protein. For a sportsperson lean meat proteins like chicken, lean fish and egg whites are highly recommended which increases the good cholesterol or HDL and egg yolk, fatty fish, red meat is to be avoided as it increases LDL or bad cholesterol. For vegetarians proteins should include various type of dals, skimmed milk, yogurts, beans, paneer etc. but the quantity of protein is very low. So the use of protein supplement like protein powders are recommended.
Importance of fats: fats are mainly required by the body for proper lubrication of the bones and also required for the absorption and transportation of fat soluble vitamins.For example vitamin D is required for bone strengthening and requires fat for absorption, recommended amount for fat is about 25-30% of total calories. Saturated fats mainly available in red meat should be avoided also trans fat present in cakes, cookies, icings, deep fried foods in vegetable oils, canned foods should be avoided as they are harmful to the body and instead unsaturated fats like low fat milk, nuts, olive oil, lean fish and low fat dairy products are recommended in the diet.
Water and fluids: is very important as adequate supply of water and fluid keeps control over constipation which is mainly induced by proteins. High calorie beverages like coke, milk tea, coffee should be avoided. Green tea, skimmed milk, lassi, nimbupani should be adequately taken.
Vitamins and salt: vitamins play an important role as it helps to maintain the cell integrity and fight against oxidative stress in the body by destroying free radicals. Antioxidants are required especially after playing sports and exercising. Minerals are available from all foods discussed above particularly from fruits. A control intake of salt is necessary as it is the only source of sodium in the diet required for many activities.