8 top reasons athletes include milk in their day
Whether you’re a professional athlete or weekend warrior, good nutrition is vital for sports performance. Bursting with nutrition , milk contains more than 15 essential nutrients and has a variety of health benefits. For athletes, milk provides additional benefits and it can be used as a sports food in a range of exercise situations.
- Individual needs can be met by choosing the milk that best suits your requirements
There is milk available to suit every type of athlete – whether you require a higher protein, lower fat, higher calcium or higher energy milk. This makes it easier to choose foods that support your individual nutrition goals.
- Milk is easy to consume and widely available
For athletes that struggle with nerves and eating before exercise, milk-based drinks are an easy way to consume energy. Some athletes worry that drinking milk before exercise will cause an upset stomach but when an appropriate amount of time is left between eating and exercising, this is usually not the case. This is because milk and milk-based drinks such as smoothies provide fluid, extra carbohydrates and are low in fibre – all the things that are helpful in a pre-exercise snack or meal.
- Milk contains essential vitamins and minerals that support immunity
Even though exercise can suppress the immune system, ensuring adequate energy, carbohydrate, protein, vitamin and mineral intake can reduce its impact. Because milk contains a wide range of nutrients, many of which play a critical role in immune function (such as carbohdyrate, Vitamin A and Zinc), milk can make a valuable contribution towards meeting your requirements for these important immune boosting nutrients. Milk contains riboflavin (or vitamin B2) an important vitamin involve in energy release pathways.
- Milk provides all the essential nutrients for recovery
For optimal recovery after exercise, athletes muscles require carbohydrate to refuel and protein for repair. Foods such as breakfast cereal with milk, flavoured milk, and fruit smoothies provide carbohydrate and protein along with many other essential nutrients. Some athletes can struggle to eat after exercise so liquid options offer an easy option to replace those nutrients lost during exercise.
- Milk provides calcium for strong bones
Milk is a superior form of calcium and can help maintain strong bones throughout life. There is even some research that suggests there is an added benefit to an athletes bone health when a rich source of calcium, such as milk, is consumed before non-weight bearing exercise such as cycling
- Milk is great for hydration
Milk also provides a great source of water and electrolytes. In fact, the sodium concentration of milk is similar to that of some sports drinks. The added benefit of milk is that it is less acidic and contains additional nutrients and so is better for your teeth.
- Milk is really versatile
Milk can be used in a variety of ways to cater for many different flavour and texture preferences. You can add it to breakfast cereal, make your porridge with it, turn it into custard, add fruit for a delicious smoothie, add to mashed potato for a creamy texture or just have a glass of milk on its own.
- Milk can keep you going for longer
Because milk is high in protein and has a low Glycaemic Index it can help keep you feeling full for longer, ensuring your energy levels are sustained throughout the day.