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Adjust your diet to the current corona situation

15 Mar 2020 19:30

 Amelie Rosseneu    IJF Robin Willingham / International Judo Federation

While at first a lot of people underestimated what new coronavirus (COVID-19) could do, some of us are now caught in a surreal reality that only happens in the movies. The IJF cancelled all competitions until April 30th and it seems like a lot of countries are following this decision by cancelling local competitions as well. In the best case scenario, athletes can still complete their normal training routine, but in many countries judo trainings are shut down, gyms are closed and some are even instructed not to leave our homes at all.

While the world is going crazy we need to stay calm, adjust our daily routines and do our best to stay healthy. Besides adjustments in training routines, you should also adjust your diet.

Adjust your energy intake

With trainings being reduced to whatever is still possible, and everyone staying at home, you’re likely to burn much less energy than usual. Therefore to stay in energy balance, you also need to eat less.

Keep your protein intakes high

While adjusting your diet to your energy needs, you have to make sure there are still enough protein in your nutrition plan. When a muscle is not used as much as usual, the body thinks it is not important anymore. Of course being an athlete, we can’t afford muscle loss. Keeping a positive protein balance can avoid muscle loss to some degree.

Keep away from comfort food

Being in stressed about the situation and being bored at home is a good cocktail of feelings that makes people reach out to comfort food. While it’s not so bad to once in a while eat something outside the scope of your diet, remember that when all of this is over and all is back to normal, you will have to weigh-in before competition.

Eat quality foods

Everyone knows by now to wash hands regularly in order to reduce infection risks. Another thing you can do is to help your immune system by eating healthy and making sure you don’t have any deficiencies. Vitamin C is known to reduce upper respiratory symptoms1. You can take a vitamin C supplement, but even better is to eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Doing so you also get all the benefits from the other vitamins and minerals found in these food products.

Go for a walk in the sun if possible

Another vitamin that is important for your immune system is vitamin D 1. You can get this by simply exposing your skin to sunlight. Of course this is not possible in all countries, especially not during winter time. Vitamin D can also be found in fatty fish (salmon, sardines etc.), sundried mushrooms and vitamin D fortified products such as certain milks, margarines and cereals.

Stay hydrated

There is a lot of advice going around to drink something every 15 minutes. While this is probably exaggerated and will not prevent infection with the corona virus like some posts claim, staying hydrate is good for overall health.

1 Maughan RJ, LM Burke. J Dvorak et al (2018) IOC consensus statement: dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 28(2), 104-125

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