Our body is like a machine that needs fuel. In addition to food, vitamins and minerals are crucial for our bodies to keep it running throughout the day. It creates an impact on how our body performs to aid our day-to-day activities. However, there are still no official guidelines on how much vitamins athletes really need. That’s why nutritionists exist to help you determine what and how much of these vitamins athletes need to take.
Listed below are few of the most essential nutrients found in various food sources to keep yourself at the top of your health and conquer the day.
Vitamins for Energy Production
Plenty of vitamins are needed to help boost your metabolism. By taking the vitamins below, it’ll help break down food from bigger nutrients like carbohydrates and fatty acids into smaller ones for the body to use as a means of fuel.
- Thiamin – This nutrient help break down carbs and amino acids and can be found on food sources such as grain products, pork, peanuts, and black beans.
- Niacin – This vitamin needs to be adequately taken and not too much or too little. By doing so, it’ll result in various health issues such as dementia, rashes, liver damage, and diarrhea. It is found mostly on peanuts, poultry, brown rice, fish, and whole grains.
- Vitamin B6 – This one is needed for carbohydrate breakdown and is mostly found in pistachios, lentils, pork, bananas, tuna, and poultry.
Vitamins for Performance Enhancement
The vitamins listed below are essential to boost your performance to keep you going until the day ends. Keep in mind that taking high doses of supplements may lead to unpleasant side effects, so always focus on consuming food sources first before anything else.
- Vitamin B12 – This vitamin is only found in animal-based products, which is a bad sign for vegan athletes. However, there are some plant and meat-based alternatives that provide “fortified” vitamin B12. But it’s still crucial to check the label first to avoid any regrets later on. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in seafood, meats, milk, eggs, cheese, and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Iron – Iron is used for oxygen transportation for the blood to flow throughout the body. Lack of iron will lead to fatigue and can negatively impact your overall physical performance. Good sources of iron are found in clams, beef, beans, spinach, oats, and turkey breasts.
- Vitamin A – This vitamin is known for its eye-related wonders. But did you know that vitamin A can also act as in antioxidant? Especially during endurance training. Keep in mind that taking excess amounts of supplements may lead to toxic effects where the help of a health specialist is needed. Good sources of Vitamin A are found in cheese as well as veggies such as carrots, pumpkin, collard greens, spinach, and sweet potato.
Vitamins for Bone Health
Athletes are daring daredevils that use most of their body, which puts stress on their bones and joints. The following vitamins should be taken to improve bone health.
- Vitamin D – This vitamin can be naturally absorbed when you’re exposed to sunlight. But it can also be absorbed by consuming these food sources as well; cod-liver oil, seafood, eggs, soymilk, and fortified milk.
- Calcium – Popularly known for its ability to support bone health, calcium also helps in improving nerve function and hormone release as well. You can get calcium by consuming these food sources; milk, cheese, collard greens, orange juice, soymilk.
Sodium and Chloride
This dynamic duo is usually found on table salt and also, on sports drinks as well. Your diet won’t be complete if sodium isn’t part of it. Athletes are active for an entire day, and losing sweat means increasing the risk of sodium depletion. If water isn’t an option, a sports drink is a great alternative for fluid loss to get you back on track.