Try to emulate our Olympians, even in a small way, and get active for life

An Olympian Diet

Cara Cunningham, MINDI, Community Dietitian

Reporter:

Cara Cunningham, MINDI, Community Dietitian

Email:

community.dietitians@hse.ie

An Olympian Diet

All the controversy around the Rio Olympic will (hopefully) be forgotten once that torch is lit and the games are underway.  We will of course be cheering on for our Irish Olympian and if you are inspired to be more active don’t forget to think of how to ‘fuel up’ your body.

No matter what level of sporting activity you are involved in the food and fluids you  eat and drink can have a huge impact on your level of performance.  The difference between the winners and losers may be milliseconds or millimetres, having the right ‘fuel’ in the ‘engine’ is vital to give that slight advantage that can be the difference between ‘medal glories’ or ‘also ran’.  Sport can be a cruel game especially at the top level, remembering that preparation is half the battle and that having a good diet doesn’t mean starting on the day of the competition; the right diet must be part of the training routine.

Eating for fitness involves eating a balanced, healthy diet with the main tips:

·         Eat carbohydrate rich foods such as cereals, bread, pasta, rice, noodles and potatoes.  These foods are the key to fuelling muscles for activity.  Although muscles can store this fuel this store does need to be topped up daily; with training the muscles can store more fuel.  But it is important to have carbohydrate food before, during and after exercise.

·         Pack in protein foods such as lean meat, fish, milk, eggs, nuts and pulses as these are important to repair and maintain muscle.  When taken with carbohydrate, after training, it boosts how well the muscle refuels. There are many myths about protein and muscle development, however taking excessive amounts of protein can be unhealthy. 

·         Keep hydrated: A common figure to remember is that for every 1% drop in hydration your performance will be reduced by 5%, so it’s a case of drinking whilst training, before, during and after exercise or competition.  Remember to train yourself to drink past your thirst.

So try to emulate our Olympians, even in a small way, and get active for life!

For more information or for more information on diet and nutrition, please contact:

The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster Tel: (044) 9395518or email community.dietitians@hse.ie.