If you are a triathlete who wants to sharpen your competitive edge, you may be wondering if there is a perfect guide to triathlon nutrition. Since natural metabolism and training schedules are different for each person, there is no single diet plan that is best for everybody. Generally speaking, focusing on eating wholesome, nutrient-dense food that can provide you with a variety of nutrition is a good idea.
1. Whole Grains
Whole wheat and oatmeal, for example, are fully packed with good carbohydrates that provide instant and sustainable energy. Whole grains can buffer the release of glucose into the bloodstream, supplying the body with a continuous source of energy. They are also loaded with a variety of other essential vitamins and minerals that are crucial for cardiovascular health and other body functions.
2. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Yogurt
Low-fat or fat-free yogurts and other dairy products all contain rich nutrients. They are especially key suppliers of calcium, potassium and proteins, which are important in keeping the skeletal muscular systems healthy. Calcium is not only needed for bone structure, it is also necessary for muscle metabolism. Proteins are crucial to muscle structure, maintenance and recuperation, and potassium provides energy. Yogurts have the additional benefit of containing probiotics, which are not only heart-healthy, but also help absorb other nutrients.
Eggs are high in proteins and 12 types of vitamins and minerals including choline, which is an essential vitamin found mostly in egg yolks. Despite the bad reputation that egg yolks have (they can increase cholesterol) studies have shown that having an egg for breakfast can actually help maintain energy levels without significantly affecting cholesterol levels.
4. Soy Products and Beans
Soy products and beans are great replacements for red meats. Soy and other beans are extremely high in lean proteins as well as soluble and insoluble fibers. Soybeans are loaded with nine different kinds of essential vitamins, a good dose of omega-3 fatty acid, and are high in iron and potassium. Iron is vital to the production of red blood cells, which are the oxygen carriers in the body. Having enough iron in the diet is key to maintaining blood-oxygen levels and overall function.
5. Salmon and Fatty Fish
The value of salmon and other fatty fish is in the amount of proteins and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acid they contain. Omega-3 fatty acid keeps blood vessels elastic. They also have valuable anti-inflammatory properties, which are great catalysts during muscle recovery. Having salmon or other fatty fish at least three times a week can be extremely beneficial to the body.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are nutritionally more valuable than white potatoes. The carbohydrates in sweet potatoes make them a great energy source. In addition, sweet potatoes are highly packed with calcium, potassium and iron and they are loaded with beta carotene which, along with the other vitamins like A, C and E, are strong antioxidants that are essential to cellular protection, muscle recovery and regeneration.