It goes without saying that a well-balanced and nutritious diet is critical to staying healthy and fit. It is even more appropriate to mention here that following a healthy diet regime is quintessential to participating in various sports-related activities. However, while the athletes in general, are required to ingest the needed amount of calories to build and maintain their physique, women in this field have been observed to somewhat skip out of this line for the most part. For stamina to be key to performing in this particular field, women should follow a healthy diet regimen regardless of their age, weight, and BMI.
Female Health In Athletics
👉 Status Of Female Athletes’ Health
A reference to the ‘female athlete triad’ was made in a particular study, which was described or explained as ‘a constellation of three clinical entities’, namely low energy availability (with/without eating disorder), reduced bone mineral density, and menstrual dysfunction.
👉 Low Energy Availability (With or Without Eating Disorder)
Even though this condition may not sound very grave, it is a sure-shot deficit that is found in most female athletes. The disordered eating patterns are likely attributable to the failure to achieve the energy requirements. Since female athletes are bound to fulfill these, the first thing they need to do is stop eating in an unhealthy or disorderly manner.
👉 Low Body Mineral Density (BMD)
This happens due to the increased energy expenditure for exercise, which, in turn, is due to the pressure from the coaches to obtain a body weight that is optimal enough for training. Such a requirement from the sports authorities is what makes female athletes develop eating disorders, resulting in low energy availability and ultimately, low BMD.
Since bone mineral density is important to avoid bone fragility from high-impact weight-bearing exercises, following a healthy and nutritious diet is mandatory for this purpose.
👉 Menstrual Dysfunction
This is a disorder often seen in women athletes when they have an insufficient availability of energy. If nothing is done to optimize the menstrual function, it may turn out bothersome to a point, where the body fat storage will find it difficult to support hormonal homeostasis.
From the description of the three aforementioned anomalies, it could well be ascertained why these contribute to the female athlete triad. While one, i.e., low energy availability due to continuously working out combined (rather, worsened) with poor or disordered eating habits contributes to low BMD, both of them give rise to impaired menstrual function.
All three of them affect the overall health and well-being of female athletes. Of note, what makes the female athlete triad more complicated is its diagnosis and treatment, which may even require interdisciplinary intervention. The only best way is to avoid these abnormalities from occurring given the complexities associated with the same.
Nutritional Requirements Of Female Athletes
From all that has been stated above, one can well ascertain that nutritional requirements are as important for women in athletics as they are for men. The amount of physical activity that women commit to during their workup highly requires them to intake a well-balanced nutritious diet,
While these can effectively help enhance their BMD and avoid fractures, they can also provide the required amount of energy to help engage in physical activity, improve energy storage, and also, optimize menstrual function. With all these being stated, below is presented a nutritional diet plan for the female athlete population.
Nutritional Diet Plan For Female Athlete Health
The following diet plan has been included to enhance bone health for the women athletes:
|Nutritional Diet Plan for Female Athlete Health|
|Macronutrients||Foods rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, such as meat (Lamb, beef, chicken, and turkey), Omega-3 fatty acids (Fish), and dairy.|
|Micronutrients||Include vitamins and minerals (iron, zinc, sodium etc)-rich food sources, such as red meat, spinach, and beans. Can also include milk, soy milk, fortified orange juice, and fortified margarine.|
|Drinks||Consider taking water every 15 to 30 minutes is the best way to stay hydrated amid strenuous exercise.|
It has been understood that bone health is vital for female athletes as far as their active engagement with physical activities in athletes is concerned.
Apart from these, mental health is also important to ensure the overall health and well-being of this concerned population. Besides, noticing that there is a risk for female athlete triad to happen, these can well be prevented by a proper intake of nutritional diet on a regular basis.