Dairy plays key role in Olympic diets

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Olympic wanna-bes take note: performing like a professional athlete make take years of hard, dedicated training, but anyone can eat like an athlete on the way to a better lifestyle and a possible future Olympic gold medal.

"The intensity of women's training has increased, and with that the need to refuel correctly is more vital than ever before," Sports nutritionist Dawn Scott, a fitness coach for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, told FITNESS Magazine.

The magazine turned to experts to shed light on just how athletes fuel their bodies to keep in Olympic shape. Dairy is a main player in keeping athletes in shape.

The No. 1 rule in Olympic diets? Don’t skimp on or skip breakfast.

"One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is heading out for a run in the morning without eating anything first," said Dan Benardot, director of the Laboratory for Elite Athlete Performance at Georgia State University in Atlanta, who works with Olympic distance runners while overseeing the nutrition program for U.S. Figure Skating.

According to Benardot, mixing in protein such as yogurt or cream cheese to a breakfast routine is fine in addition to toast and apple juice. The protein will slow down a body’s gastric emptying rate, so Benardot advises adding more time between eating and hitting the road.

Another rule for Olympic hopefuls is to boost their immunities, which is one of the best things an athlete can do to stay healthy. Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research for Athletes' Performance, suggests stocking up on Greek yogurt, which is packed full of probiotics. Other suggestions include incorporating whole-grain carbs, lean proteins and colorful produce into snacks and meals.

The list doesn’t end there. Recovering after the race or a workout is just as important as preparing. Benardot suggests turning to a glass of chocolate milk or a whey protein shake.

Click here for a full list of diet tips for future Olympians.



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