Vegetables are an important part of the diet of an athlete, since vegetables contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vegetables can help an athlete prevent injuries, boost his or her metabolism, and help him or her maintain a healthy immune system.
Here are four of the best vegetables that an athlete can eat, if he or she wants to increase his or her athletic performance, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Beans are a very nutritional vegetable for an athlete to consume on a regular basis, and it can help him or her lower his or her cholesterol. Beans have a high amount of protein in them, which can help an athlete build stronger muscles, help him or her tone muscles, and can prevent injuries. Beans also have high amounts of fiber, which is important for an athlete, especially if he or she is at risk for heart disease. An athlete should not replace his or her entire meal with beans, but instead, should add a small amount of beans to his or her meals each day.
Cauliflower is a vegetable that every athlete should eat at least three times each week, since it contains high amounts of antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. Cauliflower contains vitamin C, which can help an athlete heal after an injury, and can help him or her prevent serious infections. Vitamin C can also help an athlete maintain strong gums, teeth, and bones, which is important for injury prevention during contact sports. Cauliflower can also help an athlete prevent serious cancers, since there are a number of cancer-fighting agents within the vegetables.
Kale is one vegetable that an athlete should consume on a regular basis, due to the variety of health benefits associated with it. Kale contains 684 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, which is essential for an athlete. Vitamin K can help an athlete prevent fractures and breaks, since this particular vitamin can reduce bone loss, and help the blood clot regularly. Kale can also help an athlete prevent infections, due to the high amounts of antioxidants, and can help him or her prevent numerous diseases, such as diabetes. An older athlete wants to make sure to get plenty of kale in his or her diet, since kale can help prevent arthritis, osteoporosis, and many other conditions that decrease bone density.
Carrots contain a lot of vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for an athlete, especially if he or she is prone to certain medical conditions. Vitamin A can help an athlete maintain strong vision, which is crucial for an athlete to be successful, and can also help him or her prevent skin infections. Carrots can also help an athlete boost his or her immune system, which can keep an athlete healthy, and can help him or her prevent serious injuries. If an athlete does suffer an injury, carrots can help him or her heal faster, and can help him or her repair damaged cells. If an athlete does not like carrots, then he or she should eat sweet potatoes, which also carry the same health benefits.
By Jeanne Rose, Yahoo! Contributor Network