By Jennifer Davies, special to MSBL
Unlike other sports where playing time is quick and finite, baseball players must strategically prepare diets to keep them sustained for an unknown length of time. Nutritionists recommend eating or drinking a meal rich in complex carbohydrates an hour or two before a baseball game to provide a consistent boost of energy throughout the unknown amount of innings. Certain fruits and vegetables are key and, more than ever, players are mixing these foods into smoothies for quicker absorption of the nutrients and smoother digestion throughout the game, which is especially important for amateur ballers as they age.
Los Angeles Angels superstar center fielder, Mike Trout, is regarded as the best player in baseball and a healthy example of how to enhance production. To make sure he stays in shape, he’s added more vegetables to his diet. “I always was meat, meat, meat,” he says. “Now I’m more balanced, eating (much more) vegetables.”
Drinking those vegetables in smoothie form is the quickest way to get the daily requirements. Experts say consuming a minimum of five servings of fruits or vegetables per day is recommended to provide the vitamins an athlete requires to sharpen agility and the motor skills needed to achieve peak performance on the diamond. However, with so much of a ballplayer’s time devoted to practice, a smoothie is clutch by packing several servings of fruits and veggies into one highly-concentrated drink.
Soothe the Swelling
Inflammation and swelling of the muscles and joints of baseball players is a chronic issue that only worsens with age. Smoothies blended with inflammation-reducing ingredients, such as Greek yogurt, fresh ginger and peanut butter, are key to keeping the joints lubricated and healthy. Anti-inflammatory eating will also benefit other areas of the body, such as one’s mental health, which is useful when preparing for a big game.
When considering other ingredients for a well-balanced smoothie, players mix produce like broccoli, spinach, kale, carrots and berries in a blender with a cup or two of water. Frozen fruit such as blueberries, pineapple or mango chunks also help keep a ballplayer immune to germs naturally found in locker rooms or dugouts. Keep experimenting with more or less of certain ingredients to achieve your favorite flavor profile.
In addition, include a scoop of whey protein powder that provides essential amino acids for muscle recovery throughout the length of the game. Baseball is a physically and mentally demanding sport that requires proper nutrition to keep the body healthy and prevent injuries. A refreshing smoothie strengthens and revives tired muscles and joints to help make you the Mike Trout of your league.