Eat these 5 carbs to perform at your best this basketball season
Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source for high intensity sports such as basketball.
Carbohydrates are stores in the body in the form of glycogen in the muscles and liver.
When you power through a game of basketball your body can rapidly burn these glycogen stores for fast acting fuel.
Research has shown that high carb diets of at least 55% of an athletes daily intake is optimal for performance.
If you have read our Ultimate Guide to basketball nutrition you would have learnt that most sport scientists and dietitians recommended athlete consumes 5-10g of carbohydrate per kg of lean body mass per day.
For very active athletes this huge amount of carbohydrates can be very effective.
For recreational athletes this amount of carbs will likely just make you fat and eventually lead to diabetes.
If you are a part time basketball player who is more concerned with a balance of both health and performance a low carb approach to basketball dieting may be a great option for you.
One of the best ways to lose fat and maintain basketball performance while reducing carbs is the targeted ketogenic diet. The targeted ketogenic diet approach is one of the most efficient fat loss diet for basketbll players.
Both the high carb and targeted ketogenic diet approach require carbohydrate consumption.
Here are the top 5 carbohydrate foods basketball players can eat
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great carb option for basketball players as they boast high vitamin C content, known for assisting in recovery post exercise. Sweet potatoes also provide essential iron which can help keep energy levels high, as well as potassium and magnesium, which both aid in healthy muscle and nerve function.
Oats are a staple in the diets of many professional basketball players. Oatmeal contains low-glycemic carbohydrates for lasting energy, fiber plus nutrients such as vitamin A, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. Many athletes love to combine their oats with some flavored whey protein for a delicious muscle building treat that is kind to the waistline.
Rice is a great pre-game carbohydrate option as it is very easy to digest for most people. If you need fast acting energy prior to a game you should choose a white rice. However, don't eat to close to a game. Give yourself at least 2 hrs to digest white rice. Post games meals should include more slow digesting rice that is packed with fiber such as a brown or black rice.
Bananas are a long time favorite carbohydrate energy source for basketball players around the globe. Bananas are jam packed with potassium and other nutrients. The riper the banana the faster it will digest. Always choose a ripe variety over a "greener" banana before meals.
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Dextrose is not necessarily a healthy or delicious snack but it is a preferred fuel source that the body loves to burn during basketball.
Dextrose is the name of a simple sugar that is made from corn and is chemically identical to glucose, or blood sugar.
Adding in small amounts of dextrose before training is a great way to boost performance when on a low carb fat loss diet.
You can learn more about this approach to weight loss in our Guide To Ketogenic Dieting For Basketball Players.