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The Importance of a Golfer's Diet

Golfers are athletes. As such, dieting is as important to his performance as is the diet of a runner, a hockey player or a swimmer.

Particularly for professional and competitive golfers, a healthy diet is just as important as being in good physical condition.

Food is the fuel that helps our bodies perform, and since an athlete expects a lot from his body, he has to put the right kinds of things into it.

What's more, since golf requires both physical endurance and mental acuity, a healthy diet rich in a variety of vitamins and nutrients is paramount. But what should a golfer's diet look like? A balanced diet should consist of the proper combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fat.

Carbohydrates

Approximately 50 percent of a golfer's total caloric intake should come from carbohydrates. Good sources of high-quality carbohydrates include whole-grain breads, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta. Low-fat dairy is also a good source of carbohydrates or, if the golfer is following a vegan lifestyle, soy milk can be substituted.

Carbohydrates are the body's energy source. They assist in the functioning of the brain and nervous system, help the body burn fat and help the body hold on to its protein sources. In addition, carbohydrates help the body regulate its blood sugar levels during physical exertion, which is the body's way of providing itself with adequate energy stores.

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Protein

Protein is the building block of muscles. Because of that, it is an essential element of a golfer's diet. It is important that golfer's include lean protein in their diets, including lean chicken, fish, pork and beef. Vegetable-based sources of protein include beans such as kidney beans and legumes such as lentils, which are also good sources of complex carbohydrates.

Fat

Many people think that fat has no place in a healthy diet, but that isn't the case. Fat is actually a very important component of a healthy, balanced diet. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocado and nuts.

Here are a few dietary tips that will help keep golfers at the top of their game:

• Prior to a game, eat a low-glycemic meal that includes foods like dairy, lentils, fruit and pasta. A meal like this will be easily digest and offer the golfer sustained energy without the “crash” that can occur after eating a meal that is higher on the glycemic index.

• While on the course, ensure you have a small energy-packed snack every two hours. This can something as small as a handful of nuts and raisins. This will help keep up your mental and physical stamina.

• Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water or sports drinks is important. In this case, sports drinks may be the better choice because they contain carbohydrates and electrolytes which can help give you energy. Avoid drinking alcohol before a game as it has a dehydrating effect.

• Always eat a healthy breakfast on the day of a game, including foods rich in B vitamins (such as fortified cereals, eggs, fruit and nuts). Avoid eating fat-laden breakfast foods like bacon or sausage, and put down that cinnamon bun!

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