MILK: AN ATHLETE’S BEST FRIEND
Are you one of those who sees a gymnast, a sprinter, a footballer – or any athlete for that matter – on TV and wishes to have such level of fitness? If you are, we have the proper guidance for you to make these dreams become reality. As an athlete, a principal part of your fitness regime should be your diet. So today, on the occasion of World Athletics Day, we bring to you the role milk plays in keeping your fitness outstanding.
Familiar and easy to digest foods are the way to go before exercising to avoid any gastrointestinal discomfort. Dairy foods like flavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese provide fluid to keep up hydration, extra carbohydrates for energy and are also low in fibre, helping maximize gut comfort.
After every period of exercise, it is essential to replenish the body with all the lost energy and allow it to recover. An athlete may need to be rehydrated with fluids, require restoring of carbohydrates in muscles and even need protein for muscle recovery and regeneration. Dairy products like milk, fruit milkshakes and yoghurt can help contribute to these goals as they are full of all the valuable nutrients.
An athlete needs effective rehydration to replace the sweat lost. The quantity of fluid required depends on the type of exercise and the environment. Electrolyte-containing fluids help ensure that the fluid is retained more effectively by the body. Dairy products like milk, yoghurt, buttermilk and custard are a great source of water and electrolytes. The sodium concentration of milk is naturally higher that of sports drinks. Milk and its flavoured counterparts offer additional nutrients that may help the body retain fluid.
2. Restoring Carbs
Exercises consume our body’s energy stores so there is a need to restore the carbohydrate levels in the liver and the muscles. Sweetened dairy products, like flavoured milk, dairy desserts and yoghurts provide carbohydrates besides many other essential nutrients. Either as a part of a meal or as a snack, dairy products should not be missed out upon for restoring the carbs because:
• They are easy to consume and widely available.
• Their energy content can be altered as per the needs of the athlete by going for different choices (low-fat or high-fat products).
• Apart from carbohydrates, they also contain other essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, iodine, vitamin B12 and potassium.
3. Muscle Regeneration
After exercise, muscle tissues undergo repair and adaptation, and consuming high-quality protein helps speed up this process. Studies have suggested that the optimal serving of high-quality protein needed to enhance muscle strength and function following resistance exercise and endurance events is 20–25 g of protein. And it is no big surprise that dairy products are among the best sources of protein. 600ml of flavoured milk or half cup low fat cottage cheese, Paneer, soymilk, tofu are sufficient to fulfil this need.
So if you nurture the dreams of achieving the fitness level of athlete-standard, don’t give up on them! A lot of practice, a proper diet and a good deal of dairy is all it will take to fulfil your desire. Best of luck!