Keen athletes looking to boost their sporting performance could find that nutritional supplements form an important part of their diet.

Sports nutritionist Dr Cory Holly, founder of the Cory Holly Institute, said supplements are to a healthy diet what carbon is to steel.

"Steel is stronger, more flexible and more resistant to rust than iron alone," she explained. "Without supplements, we're like iron standing alone.

"Iron is strong, but steel is stronger, more flexible and more resilient."

For this reason, Dr Holly advised athletes and sports enthusiasts to include supplements in their diet sooner rather than later.

"In essence, high quality dietary supplements manufactured with objective science in mind will make any good, clean, whole food diet stronger," she stated.

In terms of diet, the expert said the fuel required by an athlete will depend on what he or she does.

For example, some sports require strong muscles, while others depend primarily on speed and agility.

The level of proteins and carbohydrates an individual needs will therefore differ depending on their sporting goals.

Fellow sports nutritionist Andrew Haworth agreed that a balanced diet is essential, and also stressed the importance of supplements.

"Supplements can be important as trying to get all the correct amounts of protein, carbohydrates et cetera can be difficult," he remarked.

"Just as important as what we eat following exercise is when we eat.

"A meal or supplement containing carbohydrates and protein immediately after exercise is vital for recovery as this is when the body is at its fastest and most efficient at replenishing glycogen stores."

Herbal supplements such as Siberian Ginseng capsules, which help to strengthen the immune system and increase stamina, could be beneficial to keen sportsmen and women.

Hawthorn berry capsules can also help to boost the circulatory system, and are often used by athletes to sustain the heart.

Posted by Matilda Jones