It’s evident that fruit and vegetable intake is incredibly important to support the health, well-being and performance of an athlete.
However, many athletes fail to meet the current recommendations, of which are most likely higher than general population due to the added physical and mental stressors experienced on a daily basis.
Daily recommendations vary from country to country, but we’re all familiar with the 5-a-day recommendation (1 x portion = 80g = 400g total) to ensure antioxidant, phytochemicals and fibre is adequate.
For the athletes I coach, I recommend a *minimum* of 8-10 portions (640-800g/day).
As theirs a mismatch between intake and requirement, many athletes supplement with ‘greens powders’.
The popularity of Greens Drinks are forever growing, despite their being minimal research showing their benefit in the athletic population.
A 2007 study by Lamprecht et al does however shed some light on the subject…
They examined whether 28 weeks of Juice Powder Concentrate (JPC) could influence inflammation, illness and immunity in trained men working in the Special Forces.
During this period, food diaries were analysed to identify their normal fruit and veggie intake: Only 3.2 servings on average.
Interestingly, daily consumption of JPC reduced markers of inflammation, and resulted in 26 fewer sick days during the 28 weeks…especially when workload significantly increased towards the end.
This suggests that when fruit and veggie intake is low, JPC can support the health, well-being and performance of an athlete.
As we know, the fewer number of training sessions and competitions an athlete misses, the greater the opportunity they have to improve.
Similar to multivitamin supplements, once an athlete is sufficient, more does not heighten immunity. Therefore I would speculate that if an athlete is consuming 8-10 portions of fruit and veggies per day, the need for a greens powder would be almost nil.
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