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Is Diet Leading to Injured Athletes?

Posted by The Athletic Edge on Jul 31, 2015 7:00:00 AM

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fruits-veggiesHave certain athletes who are prone to injury? Diet could be to blame, according to experts. 

But we're not looking at the lack of certain nutrients necessarily. Simply put, athletes may just not be eating enough. After workouts, athletes should be replenishing carbs and proteins, important in relieving tired muscles (try chocolate milk--it's rich in both!). And during the season, health care providers should be providing athletes with guidelines on the calories they should be eating to stay fit, free of injuries and to maintain a healthy weight. 

To help keep injuries at bay, athletes should also make sure to keep fit year-round (particularly if their sport is seasonal), but also be cautious of overuse, which can also lead to injury. During workouts, athletes should make sure to stretch and warm up properly and ward off dehydration by drinking, especially if they are working out for 90 minutes or more (these longer workouts require electrolyte or salt drinks). After working out, rehydrating and replenishing carbohydrates should take place within the first 60 to 90 minutes. 

If you're prone to developing stress fractures or overuse injuries, your diet could be the culprit, says Robert Rolf MD, of the Good Samaritan Orthopedic Center of Excellence. It's not always about vitamin D or calcium deficiency, either. The real issue is under consumption, for women especially. "I think, sometimes, they forget to eat as much as they need to," he explains.

How the Right Nutrients Help Athletes Avoid Injuries

The body of an athlete is constantly in a cycle of breaking down and healing, so it's critical to replenish any nutrients that are lost during a workout. Drink chocolate milk after a workout because it's rich in carbohydrates and protein – two nutrients essential for replenishing tired muscles.

Most kids, when they do eat, follow a fairly healthy diet, he points out, but sometimes they simply aren't eating enough. "With basketball I think some of those players lose weight as the season goes on. You've got to make sure you maintain that healthy diet," he adds.

This article excerpt, by Sarah Buelterman, originally appeared here:

Topics: Athletic Injuries, Young Athletes, College Athletes, Student Athletes, Dehydration, diet, Workouts

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