An active lifestyle and exercise routine, along with a good diet, are the best way to stay healthy. Following a good diet can help provide the energy you need to finish a race or simply enjoy a casual sport or activity. Adequate nutrition is essential to maximize sports performance. Without enough carbohydrates, proteins and fats, athletes may feel lazy and fatigued during a workout or hungry voraciously.
Athletes may also need to focus on specific vitamins and minerals for physical performance, such as iron, vitamin D and zinc. Eating a balanced diet and being physically active are two of the most important things you can do to stay healthy at any age. Vitamins and minerals play important roles in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Without vitamins and minerals, there would be no muscle function.
Physical activity increases the need for certain vitamins and minerals. A well-balanced diet will provide enough vitamins and minerals to cover any increased needs due to activity. There is no evidence that athletes need additional vitamins and minerals if they eat a well-balanced diet. There is also no evidence that vitamin and mineral supplements improve athletic performance.
Iron is a very important mineral for both physically active women and young athletes. Iron is part of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. This condition is usually temporary and does not affect athletic performance. However, iron deficiency can cause fatigue and hinder athletic performance.
Red meat is a rich source of iron that is easily absorbed by the body. Fortified breads and cereals and leafy greens, such as broccoli and spinach, also provide iron. However, iron from plant foods is not as easily absorbed by the body as iron from animal sources. Increase iron absorption from plant foods by eating them in combination with animal sources or foods rich in vitamin C, such as orange or tomato juice.
Calcium is also a very important mineral for physically active women and young athletes. Low levels of body fat and high physical activity can hinder bone development in young female athletes. Adolescence and early adulthood is a time when maximum bone formation occurs. Decreased bone development may increase the risk of fractures due to stress and impair athletic performance.
It is important for all athletes, especially young athletes, to consume adequate dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese for calcium. Calcium is also found in dark green leafy vegetables, fortified breads and cereals, and calcium-fortified orange juice. Whether you are a competitive athlete, a weekend athlete or an athlete dedicated to daily exercise, the basis for improving performance is a nutritionally adequate diet. While the health benefits of nutrition and BP are often studied individually, it has become increasingly evident that the integration of nutrition and BP has the potential to produce greater benefits compared to strategies that focus only on one or the other.