The Competition season is racing ahead of time. With back to back meets most would believe that we swimmers get used to race days, but nothing of that sort happens. Before every meet small or big, every event, main or not; gives us the same jitters and anxiety. While some lucky swimmers are carefree and competitive, most experience sweat, body warming, nail-biting stress before an event. And although very few may have considered this: But food plays an important role in calming the nervous system.
Here’s a list of 5 foods to do and 2 important foods to avoid to combat pre-race anxiety!
Say ÝES’ to:
- Milk and/or Whey: Both milk and whey contain two important amino acids. One being tryptophan and the other glutamine. The earlier crawls up to the brain and forms a neuro-transmitter called serotonin while the latter forms gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA); both of these promote calmness.
- Complex carbohydrates: Sweet potatoes, yams, millets are not just rich in B vitamins but also stay in the tummy for longer periods of time, providing satiety which signals the brain to feel relaxed.
- Nuts and/or Meat: These foods are rich in magnesium, zinc and to an extent omega-3 which are all stress relievers and known to reduce anxiety!
- Anti-oxidants: Our army of defense comprising of colorful fruits and vegetables ensures we battle stress in all forms including anxiety. A daily serving of 3-5 fruits and vegetables each will build your immunity.
- Water: Dehydration is one of the main causes behind pre-race anxiety. And although you would not prefer having solids, ensure you are having enough fluids before your race.
Say ‘NO’ to:
- Caffeine: A strong cup of coffee / caffeine in supplements can stimulate the central nervous system triggering sweating, shaking, shivering and make you even more jittery than before. Although essential pre-race as a stimulant but a strict no for particularly anxious swimmers.
- Sugary & processed foods: These products cause a hike in blood sugars and an immediate drop down of the same. Repeated swings like these can influence hormones and hence cause mood changes possibly increasing anxiety.
Make sure you incorporate these guidelines as a part of your daily routine to maximize the benefits rather than following these around competitions.
Author: Mihira A R Khopkar
B.Sc. Dietetics, M.Sc. Sports Nutrition
Copyright @ 2017 SwimIndia
SwimIndia does not guarantee results of any sort, before making any changes to your diet plans, please consult an expert.