The body’s immune system is a major player in overall health. When our immune system is robust, we are less susceptible to illness and diseases.
A vital component of any athlete’s training routine is maintaining a nutritious diet to help keep their body healthy and strong.
Gymnastics is a sport that requires a strong body. A gymnast needs to do high-intensity workouts on specialized equipment. There is an increased risk for injury if their body is not fueled properly before and after practice.
Try plenty of berries and dark green vegetables.
Recreational gymnasts and competitive athletes alike need a strong and well-fueled body to perform at their best.
Include plenty of berries for vitamin C in your young athlete’s diet. This boosts your gymnast’s immune system by increasing white blood cell production, allowing them to fight off infectious organisms before they get a chance to take hold.
Dark green vegetables should also be on the menu because chlorophyll helps prevent damage from free radicals that can lead to illness or disease. They’re also packed with antioxidants which reduce inflammation throughout the body and keep muscles nourished and healthy.
Citrus fruits provide fuel for a gymnast’s immune system.
You should also include plenty of citrus fruits in your young gymnast’s diet.
Aside from being a rich source of Vitamin C, citrus fruits contain a nutrient called hesperidin. Hesperidin increases the activity of our white blood cells, which are responsible for destroying viruses and bacteria before they have a chance to damage the body.
Don’t forget about healthy fats.
Healthy fats should also be part of their diet. The omega-saturated fat found in salmon and other fatty fish is especially important since it helps regulate white blood cell function. Our white blood cells protect us when our body encounters harmful substances like pollutants or infections by fungi, parasites, or viruses.
Green leafy vegetables reduce free radical damage.
Eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables will provide your young athlete with antioxidants. These antioxidants reduce free radical damage and increase the body’s natural ability to fight off infection.
These veggies are high in vitamin K, which has been shown to boost the immune system by increasing blood cells involved in fighting infections like:
- Staphylococcus aureus (staph)
- Influenza A virus (flu)
- Herpes simplex type-one viruses (HSV-I), including cold sores
- coli bacteria
- Helicobacter pylori bacterium responsible for stomach ulcers
- Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria associated with pneumonia
Root vegetables are great for boosting the immune system.
Root vegetables are also great for protecting the immune system. That’s because they contain a specific carbohydrate called fructo-oligo-saccharide.
This type of prebiotic fiber supports healthy bacteria in the gut, essential to overall immunity and health.
Add mushrooms to their diet.
Mushrooms are full of compounds that support the body’s immune system.
One example of these compounds is beta-glucans, which have been shown to stimulate macrophages. Macrophages are cells responsible for killing harmful bacteria or viruses and other disease-causing agents in our bodies.
Eating mushrooms regularly will help your young gymnast recover faster from illness while also strengthening their overall health.
Yogurt is a tasty immune system booster.
Include yogurt in your young athlete’s diet. That’s because it contains a healthy dose of probiotics – live bacteria that help restore the natural balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
This is especially important for athletes who have stomach issues and experience throwing up from illness or having diarrhea before practice.
Probiotics help stimulate white blood cells, which fight infection while also supporting digestion, allowing them to absorb nutrients effectively.
These essential tips for a healthy diet can help boost your athlete’s immune system and keep them in tip-top shape.
Need help with guiding your young gymnast? Visit us during a drop-in session and let us know how we can help you.