2020, Volume 12, Issue 3
Macronutrients and water – do they matter in the context of cognitive performance in athletes?
Ewa Karpęcka1, Barbara Frączek2
1University School of Physical Education in Krakow
2Department of Sports Medicine and Human Nutrition, Faculty of Physical Education and Spor, University School of Physical Education in Krakow
Author for correspondence: Ewa Karpęcka; University School of Physical Education in Krakow; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Proper nutrition is a key factor in physical performance, but there are also indications of an impact of dietary components on the brain function. Therefore, the aim of the study was to assess the impact of macronutrients and water on cognitive performance. Assumptions of the Mediterranean diet correlate with better global cognition, episodic memory, lower risk of cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative diseases. In turn, a high-fat and high-sugar diet shows the opposite effect. Omega-3 fatty acids could be used as a preventive tool for cognitive decline, but there is still insufficient evidence if supplementation improves cognitive functions. The proper intake of protein may be important in cognitive performance. Tyrosine seems to be potentially effective in inhibition of fatigue under extreme conditions, and the influence of BCAA on cognitive performance is still unclear. An appropriate glucose level is a critical factor for brain functions. Carbohydrate supplementation before and during exercise is associated with enhanced brain activation and decreased exercise perception, as well as improved cognitive functions. Dehydration worsens cognitive performance, especially for tasks requiring attention, executive functions and coordination. Based on the review of available studies, it should be assumed that proper nutrition might play a relevant role in athletes’ cognitive performance.
Key words: cognitive performance, nutrition, macronutrients, water, athletes, exercise