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The Law of Eating Whole Foods

Athletes constantly push their bodies to the limit, striving for peak performance. Naturally, we also seek out the best ways to optimize our results. We pay meticulous attention to training and recovery, but what about nutrition? While exercise and training receive substantial focus, eating properly sometimes gets overlooked or put on the back burner. At DRYWORLD, we like to bring it back to center stage, like when we highlighted the nutrition secrets of elite athletes. This time, we’re exercising the Law of Eating Whole Foods to help optimize your meal planning. Whole foods are something that should be prioritized by athletes and be made a cornerstone of their nutritional strategy.

“A diet that’s bad for your overall health can’t be good for your performance.” — Kobe Bryant

Here is the Law of Eating Whole Foods and why you should follow it.

1. Superior Nutrient Profile

Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats provide athletes with a diverse range of essential nutrients. They are LOADED with the good stuff you need to build muscle, lean out, and optimize your training by pairing it with the right foods. Unlike processed foods, whole foods are minimally altered, ensuring their nutritional value remains intact. This means they contain many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that support your overall health (no forced rest days!) and enhance your athletic performance. For extra super whole foods that will help with that boosting aspect, check out our roundup of superfoods that are actually worth the hype.

2. Sustained Energy Levels

Athletes require sustained energy to perform their best during training sessions and competitions. This is especially true for triathletes (which is why we’ve focused on nutrition for triathletes in the past). Whole foods offer a steady release of energy thanks to their complex carb content. Foods like sweet potatoes, brown rice, and whole grains contain a whole swathe of complex carbohydrates, slowly and steadily releasing glucose into your bloodstream to boost endurance and prevent energy crashes. What do you get from processed foods and sugary snacks? Rapid spikes and drops in blood sugar, which lead to decreased performance and fatigue. 

3. Optimal Recovery and Tissue Repair

Intense physical activity significantly stresses an athlete’s body, leading to muscle damage and inflammation (and those dreaded FORCED rest days). Consuming whole foods rich in proteins, such as lean meats, fish, beans, and legumes, promotes optimal recovery and tissue repair after grueling workouts. Proteins are the building blocks of muscles and aid in synthesizing new muscle fibers, which help athletes bounce back faster from workouts and reduce the risk of injury. We have a blog post dedicated to helping you optimize your pre and post-workout meals, and whole foods play a significant role. Whole foods also contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds, which again help reduce exercise-induced inflammation (just like our CBD Complete Recovery!).

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4. Enhanced Immune Function

A robust immune system will give you all sorts of benefits when it comes to achieving your peak performance. Whole foods, as mentioned, contain an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that fortify your immune system. Nutrients like vitamin C, zinc, and selenium, found abundantly in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, all help combat oxidative stress, reduce inflammation and support immune cell function. Prioritizing whole foods means you are strengthening your immune system and reducing the risk of infection and illness that can hamper your training and performance.

5. Digestive Health and Nutrient Absorption

One of the most important things about eating right is absorbing the nutrients you’re consuming to extract the maximum benefit. Whole foods, especially fiber-rich whole foods, promote healthy digestion and a thriving gut microbiota. A healthy gut microbiome is associated with improved nutrient absorption, enhanced immune function, and even boosted mental well-being, all of which contribute to overall health and, therefore, performance.

In the pursuit of excellence and peak athletic performance, we need to recognize that nutrition plays a vital role in achieving goals. By embracing whole foods as the foundation of their dietary choices, athletes can optimize performance, recovery, and overall well-being. When you think more about your diet, you also incorporate more mindful eating into your day-to-day, which has its own suite of benefits for your performance. Whole foods provide superior nutrition and sustainable energy and support other processes necessary for your athletic success. Every bite counts, so focus on making those bites the best they can be to help you fuel your body with the nutrients you need to reach your full potential.  

“Get back to basics — as close to the natural state as possible.” — Rich Roll

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