Does a Gluten-Free Diet Offer an Athletic Edge?

By Bridget

With the beginning of March Madness college basketball and spring training for the professional baseball season, athletes across the United States are wondering what will give them that slight edge over their competition. They want to run just a little faster, jump an inch higher, and throw a mile faster to win the game and the glory.

Many athletes think they have found the secret trick: focusing on their diet. While most people lead gluten-free lives because of a diagnosis, sports stars from quarterback Drew Brees to tennis player Novak Djokovic (both of whom have a gluten intolerance) have found that a gluten-free diet actually gives them a competitive edge to live out their dreams.

The key to their success is that their gluten-free diet helps them cut down on processed foods, focusing energy consumption on whole, gluten-free grains. The sports stars also report having better energy on the field, and getting a more restful night’s sleep.

One notable change for tennis star Djokovic is his marked improvement on the court. With the elimination of gluten from his diet, Djokovic was able to experience a boost in his mental and physical health, both of which were huge contributors to his dominance in the tennis world over the course of this past year.

Although leading a gluten-free lifestyle is one about changes, these changes are shown to be for the good – and not just for those inflicted with full-blown Celiac’s disease. The focus on carbohydrates that are naturally gluten-free, such as corn, quinoa, and rice, is not just a “fad diet;” it is timeless and healthy way of life.

So instead of carbo-loading and celebrating with a burger and fries, perhaps these college athletes will go for a gluten-free victory.