Shame on you, A-Rod. You and about 20 Major League Baseball players (including Ryan Braun) are facing suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. In what is potentially the largest drug abuse sandal in baseball history, these players may be out of commission for 100 games.

The worst thing about it is, if these guys wanted to boost their performance, all they would have had to do was eat the right foods. That’s right: you don’t need steroids or questionable supplements to get into peak condition. Any health-oriented athlete will tell you that it’s all in your diet.

LiveStrong recommends nutrient-rich fruits, veggies, and whole grains during regular training, then snacking on either slow-burning foods like beans, yogurt or apples (for longer periods of physical activity) or quickly digested foods like crackers and bread (for shorter periods of physical activity) on competition or game day.

A well-balanced diet containing all three macronutrients of carbohydrates, protein and fat is necessary for ensuring high energy levels and performance. Eliminating one of these will cause fatigue and make your body more susceptible to injury and illness. Getting enough of each nutrient through healthy whole foods and lean protein will ensure that you’re also getting enough of all the essential vitamins and minerals. Iron is particularly important for athletes, so make sure you’re eating plenty of dark leafy greens, eggs, and other iron-rich foods. WebMD says to pair them with vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron better.

Most importantly, stay hydrated! We can’t stress the importance of this enough. Water is essential to flushing out toxins and keeping all your systems running smoothly. For more information on what to eat for athletic performance, visit Active.com or LiveStrong.

Athletes: what do you eat to keep your performance up?

Feature image Alain Limoges via photopin cc