Golf nutrition: Over 30? Here’s what you should be eating

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How can what you eat help your performance? Professional nutrition coach Phil Holmes explains

Senior golfers may feel the unavoidable slowing of the body, but what can we do to make the most of the “autumn of the year” and help give a genuine quality of life to your golf games?

When are we classed as ‘senior’? The tours qualify players at 50. Amateur competitions often allow ‘youngsters’ to play from 55. In terms of the sporting world, science shows we are past our peak as we move past 30 years old. Therefore we may all pick up some tips from the following advice.

Various studies show that we lose muscle mass, speed, bone density, appetite and elasticity within the cardiovascular system. The gains we make relate to arthritis, furring of the arteries and, often, weight. Happy reading, eh? But let us look at some positives.

We can tweak our daily eating plans to allow for greater protein intake. This helps to offset the inevitable loss of skeletal muscle mass.

So what is the best golf nutrition for over 30s?

Try to fit protein into four or five different meals and snacks per day. Examples would be porridge with added chia seeds for breakfast, scrambled eggs as a brunch, tuna salad for lunch, chicken or fish for dinner, and yoghurt with berries before bed. Also, throw in a handful of nuts and raisins while out on the course.

Our bodies absorb less nutrients as we age. Iron is important for the transportation of oxygen, for those of you who walk the course, as well as supporting immune and cognitive function. Choose wholemeal bread as toast or sandwiches, drink a glass of fresh orange juice with such a meal as the Vitamin C helps iron absorption, and avoid tea or coffee at this time as the tannins inhibit iron absorption.

Our skeletons suffer from bone demineralisation. This is more prevalent in females post-menopause and is partly caused by our gut losing the ability to absorb calcium as readily as in earlier years. A slight increase in dairy will help but taking a Vitamin D tablet daily is strongly advised.

But before we resign ourselves to life in the slow lane, take inspiration from those great players who grace the senior tours. Bernhard Langer remains a golfing machine. His driving distance of 278 yards would place him outside the top 200 players on the regular tour but he retains his game by virtue of a razor sharp short game and brilliant course management. He’s also dedicated to fitness.

So exercise, including strength training, book some lessons with your PGA pro and look at improving from 100 yards and in rather than accepting defeat, eat lots of colourful fruit and vegetables, look for blueberries, strawberries, peppers, kale, spinach, red cabbage, and artichokes, add olive oil to dishes to benefit from the phenolic compounds this carries, look for protein sources and enjoy feeling vibrant.

And perhaps the best news for you all, red wine contains important antioxidants that help fight certain diseases. I think you’re old enough to work out your own portion sizes!

If you have any golf nutrition questions for Phil you can get in touch via his website or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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