It’s time for another Austin-area sports medicine 101 class!
We choose what we eat for a lot of different reasons – health issues, weight concerns, allergies, taste preferences and so on. But for athletes, one of the biggest deciding factors for food choices is energy. Athletes of all levels need the push that good food provides to get them through their physical activities. When discussing nutrition and athletes, we often focus on proteins and carbohydrates, but there is another category that we’re focusing on today: fats.
In a nation with a serious obesity problem, we pin a lot of our health and wellness problems on dietary fat; but it’s also an essential nutrient for optimal health. Dietary fat (in the right amounts) provides the following benefits:
- Cushion and insulation for internal organs
- Shields nerves
- Transports vitamins A, D, E & K throughout the body
- Provides the largest stores of energy for physical exertion
When we eat more calories than we use, fat is stored in the body. Too much of it can lead to health issues and a decrease in athletic performance. But our bodies function better at the optimal levels of body fat (the minimum of which is generally considered to be 5% for men and 12% for women).
In our next blog, we’ll be examining the different types of fats, where they’re found and how much of them we need.