Staying healthy whilst playing online poker

One overlooked aspect of becoming an all-round good online poker player is eating well to increase your focused state of mind.

When starting to play online poker, most beginners only want to play poker and instead end up playing poker for huge amount of hours. This often results in an unhealthy lifestyle - developing bad eating habits and sitting behind the computer all day.

Improving your eating habits will contribute heavily to your poker game and to other areas of wellbeing in your life. A good eating habit consists of eating regularly 4-5 times a day, with a good balanced ratio of ingredients.

For an active individual the recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet conducive to brain functionality:

  • 60% of your total caloric intake should be from carbs, mostly from good carbs.
  • 20-25% of your intake should be from clean forms of lean protein.
  • 15-20% should be from fat, mostly good sources of fat.

What are good carbs?

Maybe you have heard people talking about good and bad carbs. What does one mean by saying this?

Basically we like to classify carbs by the rate of absorption into our bloodstream and the effect it has. Brain-friendly carbs have a low rate and brain-unfriendly carbs have a high rate. This is because for optimal brain function we need constant insulin levels in the blood which is better achievable with slower rate absorption of carbs.

Good carbs:

  • Fresh whole fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Bran cereals
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Milk/ yogurt

 Bad carbs:

  • Fried, processed and fast food
  • Anything with white flour
  • Candies, cakes, sweets and alcohol

What are good sources of protein?

Good whole-food protein sources:

  • Beans and nuts
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Fish
  • Lean meats and poultry

Protein supplements:

  • 100% whey protein
  • Casein
  • Soy protein

What are good sources of fat?

A big misconception is that fat has to be avoided at all cost. In general, fatty food should be minimized, but there are some essential fats that your brain needs to run at its best - omega-3 or omega-6. You can use supplements in pill form (fish oil) or get your intake by eating fish.

What to avoid?

What a lot of people don’t realize is that caffeine and energy drinks are actually not that good for you to keep long-term steady focus. One gets a quick boost from coffee or energy drink, but will have to face a crash later on. Instead make sure your body is hydrated enough. Your brain exists of over 85% water. It make sense, that when you are dehydrated your brain activity becomes far from optimal. Make sure you are hydrated, I believe the standard well known advice is to drink 2L of water a day.

Some players may state a little bit of alcohol let them play more relaxed and confident. However this can be true for a short-term period, alcohol definitely has a bad effect on your brain functionality. Also it has a major effect on your wellbeing the next day. It would be better to achieve the relaxed and confident state by other things you can do than drinking alcohol.

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