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The importance of nutrition for developing athletes is being increasingly recognized. As such, many universities and colleges are adding nutrition services to their athlete resources. Researchers have proposed 4 sports nutrition models for post-secondary athletic programs to deliver nutritional services and education.

Research shows that proper nutrition habits can improve an athlete’s sleep. Getting a good night of sleep is critical, as it boosts immune function, improves recovery times, and promotes learning, all of which can increase athletic performance. Good nutrition habits, such as eating a balanced diet and avoiding large meals before bed, can lead to better sleep. Poor nutrition habits such as drinking caffeine and consuming alcohol can negatively impact sleep.

Research shows that a high proportion of athletes are vitamin D deficient. Low vitamin D levels impact muscle strength and endurance, and increase risk for stress fractures. Athletes should monitor their vitamin D levels, especially during Canadian winters, when there is less exposure to sunlight. 

Adolescence is an important period of physical growth and the development of one’s relationship with food. Researchers assert that those providing nutritional advice to adolescent athletes should emphasize sustainable long-term health and avoid a focus on body composition, which can contribute to the development of disordered eating practices or low energy availability. Adolescent athletes need a balance of macro- and micronutrients to support training and growth.

Many people use the terms sport drink and energy drink interchangeably, but it’s important to recognize that they are not the same. Sports drinks are flavoured beverages that frequently contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes and various other vitamins or nutrients. Energy drinks may contain these ingredients as well, but they also include stimulants such as caffeine. Research shows that children and adolescents should not be consuming energy drinks because of the caffeination.

Do you like to sip a cup of coffee before a big game or match, or hitting the gym? A new study of combat sport athletes showed that caffeine ingestion enhances upper-body strength endurance and increases handgrip strength. This is particularly beneficial for grappling athletes competing in judo or jiu-jitsu.

For athletes competing in Beijing, meeting nutrition goals in a different food environment might be a challenge. Planning for eating en route, considering food culture at the destination, and establishing team rules around food hygiene can help teams and athletes ensure good nutrition, manage jet lag, and reduce the risk of illness during travel.

Athletes competing in sports that are aesthetically judged, body-weight dependent, and weight classed, are considered at high risk of developing relative energy deficiency (RED-S). However, research shows RED-S is still a concern for athletes in any sport, and can occur at any competitive level.

Eating just one cup of leafy green vegetables each day could reduce the risk of falls and help maintain muscle strength and mobility into old age. In one study, older women who consumed a nitrate-rich diet from vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and beetroot had significantly better muscle function of their lower limbs.

Having too many late-night snacks may be affecting your behaviour at work. Employees who reported eating too many late-night snacks were less likely to go the extra mile for colleagues or complete work-related tasks the next day.