Understanding The Paleo Diet For Athletes
Hello everyone! Truly, I hate to repeat myself, as in my past blogs, I have placed the benefits of the Paleo diet on the limelight.
Over and over, we have talked about how it works and how it “does” work for those who remain faithful to it, as discussed in detail in my previous post, Is The Paleo Diet Healthy?
For those who need a bit more nudge towards taking on a healthier direction, the Inspirational Paleo Diet Results may just be the thing you need to stir you to action.
Since I like to think of myself as an athlete who runs, rock climbs, skydives and does a bunch of other really exciting sports, I thought it would be a great idea to share what I know about the Paleo diet in order to specifically understand the Paleo diet for athletes.
Paleo diet supporters emphasize that by following the hunter-gatherer diet, which is composed primarily of raw, fresh, and unprocessed food stuff, we are able to bring ourselves closer to the superior level of health as that our Stone Age ancestors have enjoyed.
Incidentally, following this diet has been scientifically proven to improve one’s health and can even help people significant amounts of unwanted weight, i.e. body fat! The naturally low in carbohydrate and protein-rich Paleo diet could hold the key in understanding the Paleo diet for athletes.
Modern Athletes Vis-A-Vis Stone Age Men
In understanding the Paleo diet for athletes, let us consider the energy requirements of the cave dwellers. They hunted and gathered their food. This required high amounts of energy and stamina as they scoured the woods for fresh fruits and vegetables, and as they hunted dodgy wild animals. Modern athletes, on the other hand, require similar amounts of energy as they engage in physically demanding sports.
In his book, Cordain specifically said that, hour after hour of sustained high energy output and the need for quick recovery are the serious athlete’s unique demands. As such, the first thing needed in understanding the Paleo diet for athletes is understanding their energy needs, which is summarized in the words— a lot!
Understanding The Paleo Diet For Athletes: Why it Works For Them
The next step in understanding the Paleo diet for athletes is to understand how and why the Paleo diet is the answer to their massive energy requirements.
Consuming entirely natural and unprocessed food items automatically helps athletes consume a low carb and high protein diet. This will boost their energy levels by a mile!
Ingesting too much carbohydrate makes you feel hungrier, and because they are digested faster, energy is consumed faster.
With a typical diet, a person will experience an energy boost, but only for a short while. Protein is digested longer, and is slowly converted to produce energy. That is why, as we are able to understand the Paleo diet for athletes better, we come to realize that reducing carbs, and at the same time increasing protein sources helps to sustain energy levels, making you feel less hungry and more energized.
Going Against The Grain
Since time immemorial, carbohydrates is king in the world of sports. But while it is true that carbohydrates is critically important for optimal performance among endurance athletes, essential supply can be derived from consumption of fruits and vegetables.
In fact, according author/athlete Joe Friel and Cordain, carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables can help athletes perform better compared to carbohydrates from pasta, rice, breads and other grain-based food sources. Joe Friel claims that after he transitioned to Paleo diet, he was able to increase his performance by 100 percent.
According to Cordain, the Paleo diet can significantly help in enhancing the long-term health of athletes, particularly in preventing illnesses and injuries and increasing overall physical performance. Paleo expert Robb Wolf recommends deriving carbohydrate supply from sweet potatoes, yams, squash and other fruits, which are all capable of providing adequate amount of carbs to support anaerobic or high-intensity sports.
In addition, a well-known physiologist and sports physician, Professor Tim Noakes also believes that we have inadvertently exposed ourselves to serious health risks brought about by the overconsumption of refined carbohydrates, which is said to be toxic for the body.
No matter what sport you engage in, the Paleo diet can provide you with the necessary endurance, strength and recovery required for training sessions and competitions.
Understanding The Paleo Diet For Athletes: Why It Benefits Athletes
The ideal diet for any athlete is one that boosts the immune system and at the same time increases their energy levels. In this series of understanding the Paleo diet for athletes, here are some pointers on why the Paleo diet is ideal for athletes:
- More branched chain amino acids – Through the increase in the consumption of lean meat, the consumption of branched amino acids is also increased. This is essential in building muscles and increasing energy production. In addition, it is also effective in boosting functions of the immune system as facilitating quick recovery after a demanding training or event.
- Reduced Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio – Due to healthier oily food options, athletes are able to consume more Omega-3 as compared to Omega-6 with the Paleo diet. This helps promote healing, and protect from asthmatic conditions, which is surprisingly common among athletes.
- Raises body pH levels – With reduced acidity, there is reduced bone destruction due to acidosis, while increasing synthesis of proteins.
- High Amounts of Trace Minerals and Vitamins – These nutrients are needed by athletes for optimal recovery from training and from repeated stress.
For athletes, a diet that is able to deliver ample energy supply and quality nutrition is very important to fuel exceptional performance and quicker recovery. Paleo diet is able to provide that. So whether you are in a strength or endurance sport, you can modify the Paleo diet to ensure you get the best possible results for the body to perform optimally.
For those who wish to gain insight in understanding the Paleo diet for athletes, you must recognize your specific needs, and how the Paleo diet practically doles out 100% of these dietary requirements to athletes. If you want to get an overview on the do's and don'ts of Paleo diet, check out the Paleo Diet Food List to help give you get started.