What did NY Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman do to improve the athletic performance and health of his players? And why have teams like the LA Angels and Boston Red Sox done something similar?
In a NY Times sports story, David Waldstein writes that Cashman hired a nutritionist, Cynthia Sass, to convince his players it pays to eat a nutritious diet–that the right foods can promote healing, reduce inflammation, and keep the immune system in good shape, along with the body.
As Sass explains: “People really accept now the adage, ‘You are what you eat.’ So every time you eat or drink, it’s an opportunity to make your body stronger and healthier.”
What are the foods Sass recommends to the athletes that the rest of us can benefit from including in our daily diet? She’s a fan of eggs and grilled salmon for protein, carrots for better night vision, sweet potatoes for the immune system, an easily digestible carbohydrate like brown rice, grilled vegetables and olive oil drizzled over salad with avocados. And for dessert, eat fruit and organic dark chocolate, which Sass says is good for circulation.
It’s obviously up to the players to change the way they eat–to understand that the pizza, hot dogs, beer, pretzels and soda sold at the stadium on game day are the foods least likely to lead to peak performance on the field.
But Cashman admits, “We’re not the food police. We will provide healthy alternatives and help them understand why those options are good. The rest is up to them.”