(HealthDay News) -- Eating the right balance of nutritious foods can improve athletic performance, whether you're an elite athlete or just enjoy sports and exercise on a regular basis.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics lists these benefits of a healthy diet for athletes:

  • Improved cardiovascular health, including better blood flow, delivery of oxygen and blood pressure.
  • Improved respiratory function.
  • A stronger immune system.
  • Stronger bones and muscles.
  • Improved metabolism to keep your body burning calories.