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You might have noticed that LeBron James performed better in the first quarter last season than he did in fourth quarter. The reason might actually have to do with his arteries.
That’s right, not his muscles, his brain or his heart (spirit), but his heart function— how well his heart supplies energy to his muscles through his arteries. LBJ’s muscles perform well in the first quarter, but to function well down the stretch, they need extra energy. And eating well before the game can provide just that.
As you use your muscles, your arteries refill their energy supply with oxygen and nutrients by pumping more blood into them, forcing the removal of performance-sabotaging waste products like lactic acid. So a key to your peak performance is to ensure your arteries are performing at their peak on game day.
Think of your vascular system as a train network. Your heart is the main station, the hub through which all trains must travel. Your arteries and veins are the tracks and tunnels that flow through your body, dropping passengers (blood) off at various sub-stations (joints, muscles).
If there’s an obstruction in the tracks, the passengers get irate. In your body, a station getting less blood than it needs will not perform at peak level. Your arteries normally dilate when demand from your muscles increases—unless you have inhibited them.
Avoid Artery Inhibitors Before Games
Saturated fats, processed meats, milk chocolate, coconut oils and caffeine
Consume These Artery Expanders Instead
Foods containing citrulline and arginine: watermelon, walnuts or almonds
Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, authors of four New York Times #1 bestsellers on health, and Kristin Kirkpatrick, a Cleveland Clinic nutritionist and regular guest on the Dr. Oz Show, are the YOU Docs, STACK’s experts on health and sports performance.