As keen sports men and women we’re often keen to know what we should be eating to help refuel and energise our bodies in order to improve. Whilst usually we think on a macronutrient level, i.e. Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats, today I thought I would take a moment to look at a few micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) which we should all be including in our diets to optimise our bodies functioning. Below are 5 great micronutrients which play vital roles in areas such as aiding recovery and immunity.
Vitamin C – A powerful micronutrient that is pivotal for any keen athletes. Arguably one of the most important micronutrients, Vitamin C is crucial for a healthy immune system, as well as aiding in numerous other areas, such as connective tissue repair. When recovery is such a key aspect of training and progressing, maintaining adequate vitamin C levels should be a concern for sports performers.
Vitamin D – An essential nutrient for food absorption and Testosterone production. It has been shown that men with higher levels of Vitamin D have naturally lower levels of body fat and higher lean muscle mass than those with lower levels of this vitamin. It is therefore definitely worth looking into how much Vitamin D you have in your diet and considering ways to potentially increase this amount in order to optimise your sports performance.
Sodium and Potassium (electrolytes) – Needed for muscle contractions & hydration. Typical of any isotonic sports drink, these 2 micronutrients are depleted during exercise through sweat hence the need for replenishment following exercise.
Zinc – Helps Repair and Refuel. Perhaps a mineral that you may not consider much, Zinc is very important for the keen sportsman/woman as it also aids in repair of tissues along with helping your body convert foods into useable fuels.
Vitamin B6 – Energy releaser – This vitamin plays a key role in the breakdown of stored fuel for energy so it is essential that your diet contains adequate levels of B6 so that you can access and breakdown all of the major macronutrients that you consume for fuel and repair.
Hopefully this quick blog may have given you a little food for thought and has got you thinking about your current diet and whether it needs to be altered at all to ensure you have enough of these crucial micronutrients available to you. A typical healthy diet containing plenty of natural foods is likely to contain most of what you’re likely to need on a micronutrient level, but it’s definitely worth looking into further if you are a serious sports performer.