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5 Benefits of Eating a Balanced Diet as a Gamer

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As gamers, we love our food. We love food that is convenient, cheap, and tasty. Speed is also key. Getting a meal/snack ready before a game of League of Legends, or before a raid in World of Warcraft were rituals of mine. You could say I was min/maxing my time to get back to gaming. But was it worth it? 

For the short-term, yes. Long-term? Hell no!

Neglecting my diet while playing four to eight hours a day was a terrible idea. I felt tired and had constant mood swings, which affected my social life. Living that lifestyle day after day isn’t healthy. I knew it was time for a change.

After revising my eating habits and diet, I felt like a new person. Not only did I reverse all of my health issues, but I also noticed several advantages in doing so.

A balanced diet does not mean you have to cut junk food altogether. It means you have to replace SOME of your junk food with healthier ones. Heck, I still get cravings every now and then. My weakness…*looks at my pint of Ben and Jerry’s*…is ice cream.      

Anyway, here are the 5 benefits I noticed when switching to a balanced diet

Increased Energy and Focus

Esports player playing a game
Source: Florian Olivo, Unsplash

Tweaking my diet with healthier options made me feel less groggy and more energized. Apart from improving my game sense, other activities also benefitted from an improved diet. Socializing with friends, studying for school, and even when cleaning dishes. I felt more alive.

I also had a greater sense of focus. My improved reaction in twitch-based games such as CS: GO and Overwatch was noticeable. Headshots were frequent, ultimate abilities timed better, and callouts became more efficient. 

What foods do I recommend when gaming? I enjoy bananas, strawberries, and walnuts. For hydration, good old water, coffee, and green tea keep me wide awake.

These foods are great grab-and-go snacks that need little effort to prepare. Research has also shown that these foods are excellent sources of energy.   

A Better Mood 

A wall with a quote on it
Source: Adam Jang, Unsplash

Happiness always wins, no matter what you’re doing during the day. 

Getting your happiness from processed foods is only a temporary solution. This can lead to binging. Which can result in using junk food as either an escape or a reward mechanism to please your emotions. And in some cases, depression can occur.

A balanced diet that’s nutrient-rich can reverse the impact of depression and anxiety. The best way to feel happy from the foods you eat is to emphasize variety. 

Sure, eating chicken and brown rice every day is easy and convenient, but it gets boring very quickly. What I like to do is alternate my meal plan every week. It keeps me excited as well as inspired to try new foods each week. 

Here’s a list of healthy foods that may inspire your next meal: 

Protein – Chicken, eggs, lamb, tuna, salmon, halibut, beans, tofu, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds

Grains – Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, couscous, whole grain bread, popcorn, oatmeal 

Fruits – Strawberries, bananas, blueberries, mango, grapes, watermelon, apples, cantaloupe, honeydew   

Vegetables – Broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, bell pepper, sweet potato  

Dairy – Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, gouda cheese, feta cheese          

Improved Weight Loss

A blue plage with words in the middle
Source: Natasha Spencer, Unsplash

Ever heard of the saying “you can’t outrun a bad diet”? From my experience, this is very true! 

I was lifting weights four to five times a week when I started. Strength gains were noticeable after a month of commitment. But my body looked exactly like it did on Day 1. 

I was unsure about what I was doing wrong. My appetite for food was fine, and I was active. Then I had an “aha!” moment. Something so simple that I overlooked. 

My diet…was AWFUL!  

After replacing the junk with fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich foods, I started to see REAL improvements with my body. I looked less bloated, had more muscle definition, and I burned about 15lbs (6.8kgs) in a few months. 

Moral of the story? You are what you eat! 

If you eat like garbage, you will look and feel like garbage. Eat like an athlete and you will look and feel like one.

Better Skin

Zach taking a selfie with hoodie and beanie
Source: Me 🙂

Oh acne, always appearing at the wrong place at the wrong time. I always believed that I had bad genetics when it came to the condition of my skin. My brothers and I struggled with acne during our teenage years. 

When I switched to a healthier diet (in addition to supplementation), my acne started to clear up. Eliminating processed foods reduced redness, decreased irritation, and stopped whiteheads from appearing on my face.

Additionally, my self-confidence in social situations increased. I am no longer insecure about the condition of my face. Of course, I get one or two pesky pimples every now and then. But it’s nothing to stress about as they disappear after a few days.

Clean food, clean skin!                   

Reduced Stress

An esports player thinking at his computer
Source: Anthony Brolin, Unsplash

Stress is something we face all the time. Whether it’s from work, school, family, or even video games. We have our good days and bad days. It’s a matter of coping with it in the right way. But can eating a healthy diet reduce moments of stress? 

In my experience, consuming foods with empty calories (no nutrients) amplified my stress.  

“Hey, Zach. It’s your body talkin’. I just wanted to let you know that I’m gonna shut down if you don’t feed me some good food. K, thanks!”     

Not only was I stressed, I was mentally drained without the right foods. A clean diet was the only option. Studies show that nutrient-rich foods boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that relaxes the body and mind.

Remember when I recommended bananas and walnuts for snacking? They’re also great sources of serotonin. So snack on! 

Bonus: You Will Save Money! 

A woman holding several hundred dollar bills
Source: Alexander Mils, Unsplash

One extra benefit I want to share is the amount of money you would save in the future. How does eating healthy save you money? It’s about perspective

Think about it. Eating healthy is like investing money. When you invest in something, you expect a return (or result) at some point in the future. Investing in wholesome foods saves you from visiting the doctor, buying medication, and surgeries.

In 2017 alone, over 11 million people died globally due to diet-related diseases. Many countries do not have access to quality foods and health services. In North America, we are very fortunate to have a variety of foods to choose from. 

With the right information, you can eat healthy and play games without the fear of damaging your body.    

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