While certain foods in your diet can actually reduce stamina, healthy foods help to build up your stamina and increase your energy level, especially if you're interested in sports and athletics. As a sportsperson, you need foods that are designed to not only give you energy but also keep you feeling full all day long. Says nutritionist Smruti Gokhale, "Nutrients like complex carbs, proteins, fibre and vitamin C is crucial for those who are into sports. These nutrients keep you active and feeling energetic."
Complex Carbs: When you are talking about building stamina, you just cannot miss out on complex carbs. Carbs are the main source of fuel for your body and brain. Says Priya Kathpal, nutritionist BCUBE, “Carbs is the food that the body uses to get glucose, which provides energy. Complex carbs are present in foods like bread, pasta and rice, which unlike simple carbs, keep you feeling energetic all day long.”
Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps strengthen your immune system and protects you from infections like cold and cough, which sap your energy. Also, when you are outdoors, you are more susceptible to bacterial infections, which hamper your health. Thus ensure that you consume foods and fruits rich in vitamin C.
Proteins: Protein is an important nutrient for the growth, development and repair of muscle and body tissues. Protein has a higher metabolic rate than fat, so an individual can burn more calories. It is also said to increase satiety, which prevents a person from overeating. Healthy sources of protein include lean chicken, fish, eggs and nuts.
Iron: Lack of iron in your diet can cause loss of stamina. You can get iron from meat, beans, nuts and some vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. Consult your doctor about taking iron supplements.
Foods that build stamina
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is an unprocessed carb, which gets digested slowly and hence keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time. Says Kathpal, “A power-packed cereal, oatmeal provides sustained energy for hours. Due to high content of complex carbs, it breaks down slowly in your body and keeps the blood sugar at optimum level.”
Beans: Rich in mineral and iron which helps your body to generate RBCs (Red Blood Cells) that carry oxygen to the muscles when you are exercising and also builds stamina.
Coffee: Coffee is known to be an instant energy provider. It is known to help fight against fatigue, as it triggers the central nervous system. Coffee keeps you energised and active throughout the day.
Green leafy vegetables: Packed with micronutrients, it is essential for building stamina and also to improve your RBC count. Green leafy veggies are rich in fibre and digest slowly while maintaining your blood-glucose level.
Bananas: Bananas are a particularly good energy source and these are best eaten a few hours before you intend to exert yourself. Along with being great sources of carbs, they are also effective because they trigger the release of ‘dopamine’ — a chemical that builds your concentration and focus.
Peanut butter: Peanuts are said to contain Omega 3 fatty acids that helps in reducing pain, boost heart health and develop your brain. Peanut butter is also excellent for building stamina. It is high in calories and digests slowly. Consume peanut butter in combination with complex carbs.
Lean meat, fish, chicken and eggs: Says Gokhale, “Rich in protein, these foods are important for growth and development, muscle building and repair. Meat takes a longer time to digest and thus keeps you feeling full and active all day long.”
Red grapes: Red grapes contains ‘resveratol’ which provides increased energy. These grapes contain a very small amount of sugar, which gives you instant energy and helps build stamina.
Beetroot juice: Consuming a glass of beetroot juice before exercising will make your body work for long hours without feeling exhausted. Beetroot is rich in vitamin A and C — both help in building stamina and reducing fatigue.
Quinoa: Quinoa (Bathua) was declared to be a sacred grain by the Inca Empire and was fed to the warriors so that they could get energy! It contains eight essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre. It gives instant energy and keeps you active. It’s easy to cook and can be cooked like rice in only 10 minutes.