Picture of a healthy golfer

Nutrition: A Golfer’s Competitive Edge?

There is a great deal written about health and diet. All too often people blame their hectic lives for eating fast food and taking processed ready meals out of the freezer for a couple of minutes in the microwave.

Beverage companies aggressively market their products and most people pick a fizzy drink rather than water to take out with them on the course. The result is that we are all too prone to consume far too much sugar and salt.

That translates into an inch or two on the waistline, possibly shortness of breath and certainly a tired body after 18 holes rather than one that is ready for more. Professional athletes watch their diet very carefully; the food that years ago was thought to help competitors, things such as steaks, are now seen as something that the body would not digest quickly and it would actually hinder rather than assist activity.

Sports science is now a major topic of research and its findings are available for everyone to read and follow even if its primary purpose is to guide professionals in their specific sport. Magnesium is particularly good for relaxing muscles and calming nerves. Spinach and basil both have magnesium as do brown rice, fish, beans, lentils and bananas.

These days there are plenty of pictures on television of golfers walking down the course eating a banana. Selenium is something else to consider. It helps to counter fatigue and also ward off various viruses. Salmon, tuna, and cod are good sources of selenium which also combats anxiety. There is plenty of nutritious food that will not only help overall health it will be of benefit when you hit that little white ball around the course. Fresh fruit and vegetables are readily available, easy to cook and full of flavor.

There is no need to deep fry potatoes or use too much oil in any cooking. Fish and white meat are far better than too much red meat. It doesn’t mean you have to give up red meat completely.  Wholemeal bread is better than white and it is easy to make your own sauces rather than buy in because manufactured products are likely to contain sugar and salt which are unnecessary for flavor.

For dessert why not replace your calorie-filled dessert with fresh fruit? We are not talking about major sacrifice here. Herbs and spices provide flavor to augment the natural goodness in fresh produce. The fact that you are playing golf means that you will be getting exercise, the more the better for a healthy life. If you have a buggy you will not be doing too much walking other than from the cart track to your ball and around the green.

You will be swinging your club of course and your aim will be to do that as few times as possible. If you are walking, and better still carrying your clubs regularly then you should be moderately fit, especially if you decide to follow a healthy diet. Three rounds of golf a week is twenty miles if you are walking. Poor nutrition means weak muscles, too much body fat and can lead to your becoming tired as the round progresses and thus liable to lose concentration. Whether you have been playing well or not the later holes can become a real challenge.

It is possible to reverse these problems; if you can concentrate then that focus will help to reduce tension and anxiety. You need to consume carbohydrates and good protein; you should avoid going hungry even if that means eating late and never skip breakfast. There is a theory that the more colorful your meals the better. That means fruit and vegetables that come in every color of the rainbow.

Why would you want to eat vegetables from a can when the vegetable section of the local hypermarket is full of so much healthy food? You need fat for energy; some is good, some is bad. Good fats can be obtained from nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts. Protein that will help you comes from the aforementioned fish and white meat as well as egg whites. Fruit, vegetables and brown rice provide carbohydrates.

Alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks are not good; if you are thirsty drink water on the course and for a snack, a protein bar. Forget the bar of chocolate and the fizzy drink. Eat regularly and sensibly will certainly help your fitness and your game. If you are fit you are likely to feel better in general and that will result in improved performance.


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