Surely you already know that an athlete should eat fruits and vegetables regularly, but you may not know how much fruit they are recommended to eat during the day. For this reason, we will explain the recommended amount of these foods in the diet, as well as the best time of day to eat them.
Before starting, we want to emphasize once again that fruit is very good for health and consequently for sports performance thanks to its micronutrient and antioxidant content. These substances help reduce muscle damage and improve recovery capacity.
The best time to eat fruit
Fruit is also distinguished by its fructose content. This nutrient has been shown to be harmful to the body when ingested in its free form. However, this effect disappears when consumed along with a certain amount of fiber or fat. In this sense, it is best to eat fruit after meals, to minimize the impact of sugars on the body.
Likewise, during the morning the body has a reduced ability to metabolize carbohydrates, which is why it is recommended to eat it starting at noon, until the time when the sun sets. This responds to the change in hormone production according to circadian rhythms described in an article published in the journal Nutrients.
The exact amount of fruit for an athlete
We now know that the ideal time to eat fruit is from noon until sunset. However, it remains to know how much fruit to consume.
The best thing would be to eat a portion (a piece or a handful, in the case of small fruit) at the end of the meal, as a dessert. Also, you could have some more in your afternoon snack.
Also, it is recommended to choose fruit rich in antioxidants, such as berries, exotic fruits and cherries. Those with bright colors tend to have a higher amount of phytonutrients, so their beneficial effects on health and sports recovery are more evident.
Which fruit should an athlete eat: watch out for calories!
There is also some fruit that has a higher calorie content, so you need to avoid eating too much. The most representative case is that of the banana and the avocado. The former contain carbohydrates and potassium, while the latter is characterized by the high content of omega 3 fatty acids.
This is not to say we must avoid eating such foods; it is simply not advisable to eat more than one piece a day. Try alternating caloric fruits with those with a higher water content to prevent any energy imbalances.
An athlete must not forget about vegetables
Although fruit consumption is highly recommended for an athlete, keep in mind that it is much more important to eat vegetables regularly. At least in all main meals a representative of the plant kingdom must appear, as they provide essential nutrients for the organism. Habitual consumption of vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.
Remember that one of the cornerstones of a healthy diet is its variety. In this sense, try to include different types of vegetables in the diet, alternating the consumption of raw and cooked foods to avoid the loss of nutrients.
Eating fruit every day is good for you!
Fruit is essential for an athlete because, among other things, it provides the antioxidants necessary for muscle recovery. In addition, it contains minerals and vitamins that ensure the proper functioning of the hormonal system, which can directly affect sports performance.
However, it is important to consume these foods at the right time of day and under the conditions indicated. Eating only fruit could raise blood glucose levels. This may be useful in certain circumstances, but not as a general rule.
Finally, don’t forget to alternate between different types of fruit to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs. Alternate the caloric ones with those that are distinguished by the high water content: in this way the energy balance of the diet will not be altered.