The original meaning of the word ‘Diet’ meant, way of living. It was the sum total of all activities. Not just the consumption of calories but their expenditure as well.
The first premise of a good diet is that activity and exercise are part of daily life and all nutritional needs are increased as a result.
It then follows that the foods and meals consumed by athletes must meet those increased needs in order to safely fuel exercise and support the body’s recovery from it.
Athletes, as defined here, are people who dedicate a portion of their day to some form of exercise.
Athletes need more complex carbohydrates, more water, more vitamins and more minerals.
They need more antioxidants than was previously thought. The standards established by laws are inadequate; both in the scope of substances they deem necessary and the amounts they consider minimum for the ones they do.
At least they are for active people. Active people need a great deal more.
Athletes need to either get these phytocompounds and nutrients from a colorful diet or invest in high quality, dietary supplements.
Athletes who fail to do so will suffer a loss in performance and prematurely age their bodies.
Exercise stimulates the formation of catabolic enzymes which are used to breakdown glucose, amino acids and fatty acids.
They are broken down into two carbon compounds, which themselves are broken down with its energy converted into the biologically useful form of energy known as ATP.
During this process many free radicals are produced.
More free radicals are formed when exercise is completed because this is when the body repays its oxygen debt as it perfuses its muscles with blood and oxygen.
Moreover, since exercise required the body to release its store of macronutrients (glycogen, protein and fat), which was needed to fuel muscle movement, it must now be replenished.
Once exercise is completed, good athletes will take advantage of this important demand, and not only meet that need but create new ones.
Exercise also stimulates an inflammatory response and growth to repair and build new muscle.
An athlete’s recovery therefore depends on the repair of damaged ligaments, joints and muscle fibers and repressing the inflammation that accompanies the damage. These harmful effects must be balanced by the body’s healing systems.
The library of compounds in plants. its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, aid in the process of healing.
The success of exercise is often based on the ability to repress inflammation and restore lost fluids and electrolytes.
Recovery is essential to both athletic performance and long-term health. Whereas, excessive oxidation and inflammation result in disease.
The chronic disease of arthritis is escalated by oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
The original injury produces damaged components. When it occurs in a joint like a knee, it is immediately attacked by free radicals, which causes inflammation. As more damage occurs, these damaged components accumulate as molecular debris. This becomes the foci of more inflammation and further free radical attacks and the cycle continues until symptoms appear..
The initial damage progresses to full blown disease when the inflammatory response destroys function.
Should antioxidants fail to prevent the initial attack, its progression can still be slowed by repressing the body’s inflammatory response to it. Fortunately for athletes, the same antioxidants that neutralize sunlight in plants, can mitigate the damaging effects of exercise and its progression to arthritis.
The diseases implicated in having an origin in oxidative damage includes: arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, cirrhosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cataracts, hypertension, nutritional diabetes, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Antioxidants help athletes maintain health by protecting the integrity of their cell’s membranes and the DNA blueprints contained in their cell’s nucleus.
Antioxidants also prevent attack on the different types of lipoproteins (HDL, LDL and VLDL) in their blood. Oxidized lipoproteins are more dangerous to health than the unoxidized lipoproteins.
Antioxidants are needed in higher amounts due to exercise. High antioxidant diets reduce the risk of developing the aforementioned chronic diseases.