Human Growth Hormone is crucial to the body's recovery, and ingesting protein instead of carbs increases HGH levels, Trifuel reports. So what does this mean for folks who want to manage their nutrition for optimal athletic performance? Well, the body releases HGH during sleep, and if you've got a day job, you probably can't nap in the middle of the day like pro athletes do. So, to ensure you're getting a boost in your HGH levels during your nightly shut-eye, make sure your dinner is high on protein, with a bit of fat. You'll want to add in lots of vegetables, too. But drop the pasta--carb intake will trigger insulin production, which will inhibit the release of HGH when you sleep.