Eating a balanced diet is critical for an athlete’s success. But should athletes eat a biodiverse diet to improve athletic performance? Team Liquid‘s Executive Chef, Heidi Marsh, finds that eating a biodiverse diet improves the athletic performance of esports athletes.
As a chef for some of the world’s best esports athletes, Marsh builds menus by incorporating ingredients addressing the athletes’ unique nutritional needs. Esports athletes must consume foods promoting their cognitive ability, or brain power. In particular, esports athletes should consume nutrients that promote focus, minimize anxiety, spur muscle reactions and strengthen memory.
To attain these goals, Chef Heidi builds menus featuring biodiversity for Team Liquid’s players.
What is biodiversity? A biodiverse diet is one filled with a variety of life sources–like meat, vegetables, fruits and fungi. Most simply, biodiversity is about incorporating variety into a diet.
“Most of the time, if you’re on a good diet with biodiverse foods, you’re going to feel full of energy,” Marsh told RULING SPORTS.
Highlighting the need for biodiversity, Chef Heidi reflected on the fallacies of typical to the American understanding of nutrition.
“In America, in most of the plates throughout the decades, it’s a piece of meat, some mashed potatoes, some peas and carrots,” Marsh said. “If you look at Australia, Canada and parts of Europe, they have the same plate, but whoever analyzes diets in their government, they put beets on there. They’ve got multiple whole food grains, ancient grains–not just this random piece of chicken, but a nice looking cooked lamb chop.”
How can athletes introduce biodiversity into their diets?
“If you’re eating the same piece of meat and the same vegetables and grains every day, you want to introduce sprouted oats, micro greens and different colored vegetables,” Marsh said.
Here, Marsh gives a key strategy in eating a biodiverse diet: eating colorfully.
“You want to introduce different colored vegetables,” Marsh explained. “Typically, vegetables do different things in your body, believe it or not.”
For esports athletes, vegetables may not be a traditionally craved food. Esports athletes are notorious for poor nutrition habits. Reports abound of them subsisting on junk food and not using nutrition for performance.
But Marsh says that even the worst diet can be quickly overcome through eating a biodiverse diet.
“If you start taking in a lot of high-nutrient, biodiverse foods on a regular basis, your body will start to crave those foods,” Marsh said. “It will be apparent to you, because you won’t feel good when you eat some greasy and high-calorie and fatty. So, you can change your palate and you can change your body.”
Want to learn more about biodiverse diets and athletic performance? Listen to Chef Heidi on Episode 3 of the Ruling Sports Podcast.
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