You are what you eat, and that goes for gamers too. Playing online pokies isn’t difficult but actually winning takes a lot more focus than people think, and you won’t perform at your peak if you have a lousy diet. Competitive e-sports players who eat healthy have sharper reactions and stronger focus. They think more clearly and make better decisions. On the other hand, if your body depends on junk food, you can expect your mental and physical health to break down. In other words, a health-conscious gamer is a winning gamer, so it’s time to drop the snack food and sodas and find out what is the best diet to help you up your game.
How much you should depends on your activity level. The more physically active you are, the more calories you burn, so you can eat a lot without feeling heavy and tired. If, like most gamers, you’re spending a lot of time sitting, you’re not burning a lot of calories, so you either need to exercise more or pay attention to the quality of your food. Too many carbs will bog you down mentally and physically. Starchy carbs especially will give you a sugar rush and then you’ll crash. Fogginess, weight gain and poor focus go hand-in-hand with too many starchy carbs, not to mention the risk of diabetes. Sugar and junk food are the absolute enemy, as they bring down your concentration, mental processing and focus. Avoid these problems by eating legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables – the carbs they contain are more complex and take longer to break down, so you have more long-term energy.
There are bad fats and good fats. Although polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats are perfectly healthy, trans-fat is a health disaster – especially for people with sedentary lifestyles. Trans-fats increase the amount of LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol that raises the likelihood of chronic illnesses like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. You’ll find trans-fats in the form of hydrogenated vegetable oil that crops up in all kinds of food products – french fries, baked goods, snack food, frozen pizza … Check the ingredient list to see if a food product contains partially hydrogenated oils and if it does, avoid it! Instead, eat food rich in healthy fat like avocados, olive oil, fatty fish and nuts. Avocados and nuts especially are good for gamers because they are rich in B vitamins, which lower stress and raise energy levels.
Known as the building blocks of the body, proteins play an essential role in lifting your mood, providing energy and repairing muscles and tissues. Proteins carry many calories though, so if you have somewhat of a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll want to watch how much meat, cheese and nuts you consume. You don’t need to eat meat with every meal, but when you do, make sure it’s high quality – grass-fed beef, lean fish or free-range poultry. Processed meat is often loaded with salt so it can bring your blood pressure up. As an alternative to animal products, broccoli, lentils and beans are high in protein.
In the zone
Now that you know what to eat and what to avoid, try to eat three hearty nutritious meals a day. Half the calories should be from the good carbs, the rest from healthy fat and quality protein. The right amount of fat will give you energy through the day. Last but not least – stay hydrated! That means drinking mostly water – an addiction to sodas and energy drinks will do you no favors. The recommended minimum is 30-50 ounces of water daily – a gallon would be better. Problems caused by dehydration include headaches, fatigue, anxiety and loss of focus, so you definitely want to avoid these and drink enough water to keep yourself in the zone.