All athletes understand the role that carbohydrates, fats, protein, calcium, etc. play in their diet. Supplying the body with proper nutrition is important to any athlete who is testing the limits of their physical abilities each day.
An athlete demands a lot from his body and to manage and sustain these abilities, proper sports nutrition and a healthy diet can be the difference between success and failure.
Daily absorption of vitamins and minerals into an athlete’s diet will ensure that the energy produced metabolizes faster.
Minerals are important as they regulate cell function and provide cell structure, control the action of the nerves and ability of the muscles, help maintain proper water balance, and buffer the pH of the cells.
Major minerals include calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus. Micro minerals include copper, iodine, fluoride, selenium, iron and zinc.
The key to a balanced diet is eating foods rich in these nutrients. Potassium monitors muscle activity; iron is necessary in the development of hemoglobin and in carrying oxygen to all cells; calcium is required for building strong bones and teeth; and zinc is fundamental for normal growth and energy production in muscles.
Vitamins help with the absorption of iron and have an important function in the metabolism of the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that an athlete consumes. They also prevent cell damage and tissue growth. An athlete is more prone to cell damage since they are inhaling more oxygen. Vitamin rich foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. An athlete should try and consume between five and nine servings per day.
The role of vitamins and minerals becomes very clear for an athlete, or anyone, to maintain a healthy body. Eating a wide variety of foods that are high in vitamins and minerals will allow all the small seemingly unnoticeable functions of your body, to perform at peak performance so the athlete can also.