By Nikkitha Bakshani
The Daily Meal
Though the practice is becoming increasingly common, not all athletes fuel up for games with protein shakes -- especially not athletes in places like Kazakhstan or Kenya, where protein powder is hard to come by. But they have to eat something in order to perform so well during the Olympics and other challenging events, right? What are their secrets? Here is what athletes from around the world eat to stay at the top of their games.
Every time the Olympics roll around, there is a lot of buzz around the diets of these seemingly superhuman sportsmen and sportswomen. Michael Phelps' legendary 12,000-calorie-a-day diet captured many headlines, as did Usain Bolt's confession that the secret to his speed was Chicken McNuggets. We researched the special requests of various teams during the 2012 London Olympics, as well as the training diets of various athletes when they were in their home countries. Unsurprisingly, there are many little-known power foods from around the world that help athletes perform well.
Chia seeds, a health food favorite, have actually been eaten by Mexico's indigenous Tarahumara people, known for their ability to run extremely long distances in mountainous terrain, since precolonial times. In the early 2000s, a lot of money was spent on researching the diets of Kenyan runners, because before athletes began posting photos or videos on social media, it was necessary for researchers to actually travel to Africa and survey their eating habits. Many athletes abroad have not fallen prey to the foods that athletes should never eat, although, with the popularity of fast food chains internationally, that is changing fast.