The Importance of Eating Fruit When You're An Athlete

20 November, 2020
Fruit is an essential food to ensure good health and muscle recovery. In this article, we'll tell you how much fruit you should consume and when.

Most people already know that athletes should include all kinds of vegetables in their diet. In a way, athletes tend to focus on these foods and leave fruits behind, forgetting just how important they are as well. For this reason, they may be unsure of how much fruit they should be eating throughout the day.

In this article, we’ll be talking about the importance of eating fruit when you’re an athlete, the recommended amount you should consume, and the best times of day to do so.

Before delving into this subject, we must make something clear. Fruits are beneficial for health and sports performance due to their micronutrient and antioxidant content. These substances help reduce muscle damage and improve recovery capacity.

The best time for eating fruit

Fruit also stands out for its fructose content. For one, plenty of studies have shown that this nutrient can be harmful to the body when administered in its free form. However, this effect disappears when it’s consumed along with fiber or fat. In this sense, eating fruit after a meal would be your best bet in order to minimize the impact of sugars on the body.

Likewise, during the morning, the body has a poorer ability to metabolize carbohydrates. This explains why nutritionists recommend eating fruit from noon until sunset. In fact, an article published in the Nutrients journal explained that this has to do with the variation in hormonal production according to circadian rhythms.

A person washing a green apple.

The exact amount of fruit

Now you know that eating fruit is ideal from noon to sunset time. However, we still haven’t discussed how much of it you should consume.

The best thing would be to have a portion (a piece or a handful, in the case of small fruits) after a meal. Think about it as a dessert. Also, you could consume more as a snack if you want to.

In addition, we advise you to choose those that stand out for their antioxidant content. For example, berries or cherries. In case you didn’t know, bright-colored fruits tend to have a higher amount of phytonutrients. This, of course, makes their beneficial effects on health and sports recovery more noticeable.

Additionally, it’s important to mention that there are fruits with a higher calorie content. Consuming them excessively would be detrimental for this reason. The most representative case is bananas and avocados. For one, the first stands out for having carbohydrates and potassium in their composition. The latter stands out for their fatty acid content from omega-3.

By this, we don’t mean that it’s necessary to completely avoid such foods. On the contrary, they’re very delicious and good for your health as well. Our advice is to simply avoid eating more than one piece a day. Also, try to alternate caloric fruits with those with higher water content to prevent energy imbalances.

Don’t forget your vegetables

Although eating fruit is greatly recommended, keep in mind that it’s also necessary to eat vegetables regularly, at least in all the main meals. Remember that all vegetables, in their own way, provide essential nutrients for the body. Consuming them on a regular basis lowers the risk of contracting illnesses and premature death.

Bear in mind that keeping a varied diet is essential. In this sense, try to include different types of vegetables in it, alternating raw and cooked consumption to avoid wasting a lot of nutrients.

A basket full of fruits and veggies.

The importance of eating fruit on a daily basis

Eating fruit is necessary for all athletes since, among other reasons, they provide antioxidants necessary for muscle recovery. In addition, they’re rich in minerals and vitamins which ensure the proper functioning of the hormonal system, which can directly affect performance.

However, it’s important to consume these foods at the right time of day and under the conditions that we mentioned. Eating fruit alone could increase blood glucose levels. This could be beneficial in certain circumstances, but not all the time.

Finally, don’t forget to vary the types of fruit you eat to ensure that your body gets all the nutrients it needs. Remember to alternate between caloric fruits with those that have a lot of water content. In this way, you’ll guarantee a great balance in your diet.

  • Hannou SA., Haslam DE., McKeown NM., Herman MA., Fructose metabolism and metabolic disease. J Clin Invest, 2018.
  • Lopez Minguez J., Gómez Abellán P., Garaulet M., Timing of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Effects on obesity and metabolic risk. Nutrients, 2019.