Πέμπτη, 19 Απριλίου 2012




                               ‘'Must-Have’' Micronutrients for Athletes.

Micronutrients are all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function well. From helping your muscles rebuild after tough workouts to keeping your energy levels up, micronutrients play a central role in your performance. If macronutrients power the machine, micronutrients oil the wheels and cranks, keeping all your systems functioning smoothly. Athletes such us runners tend to be restrictive about eating and can miss out on valuable nutrients. Here is a run-down of some vital micronutrients that will help staying strong and healthy during your training, so you can hit your peak performance levels:

Iron is an important nutrient for endurance athletes yet many athletes are iron deficient. Iron helps transport oxygen to all the cells in your body, including your brain. If you don’t have enough iron in your diet, you’ll feel tired, irritable and have difficulty focusing. You can get iron from beef, spinach, clams, oysters, chicken liver, sardines canned in oil and turkey.

Calcium as everyone knows, is important for strong bones and many athletes don’t get enough calcium. Activity builds your bone strength but if you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, your bones may get weaker when you train and you’ll be more likely to get injured. You can get calcium by eating cheese, yoghurt, milk, broccoli, watercress and kale.

Potassium helps keep you from cramping and getting dehydrated on race by balancing the electrolyte and fluid levels in your body. You lose potassium from sweating during workouts so need to replenish it. Potassium also helps build muscles. You can get potassium from red meat, chicken, soy, broccoli, peas, bananas, kiwi, citrus fruits and fish such as salmon, sardines, cod and flounder.

Magnesium is used in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production for energy, muscular relaxation and bone remineralization. Low levels of magnesium can contribute to the early onset of fatigue during exertion, muscle cramps and nausea. Good sources of magnesium are wheat germ, nuts, rye, soybeans and figs.

Selenium. Selenium is a free radical scavenger. It benefits an athlete’s immune system and helps repair daily cellular damage. Sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, beans, bran, garlic, mushrooms and seafood.

Sodium.. Athletes performing physical activity in warm temperatures for 3 hours or more should ensure enough sodium intake through fluid replacement (drinking) and snacks.

Zinc. This mineral aids in post-exertion tissue repair and helps to convert foods into fuel. The best food sources are bran, oysters, lean beef, egg yolk, fish, wheat germ and yeast.

 ''Vitamins'' means vita (life) for your body:

VITAMIN
BENEFIT

SOURCES

Vitamin D

Bone growth & mineralisation.
Enhances Calcium absorption.
Taking Vitamin D with Calcium may help to prevent bone loss in athletes at risk of osteoporosis.


Sun exposure



Vitamin K


Important for normal blood clotting.


Spinach, chestnut, tomato, egg, kidney

Vitamin B6

Muscle strength and aerobic power in the lactic acid and oxygen systems. Combined with B1 and B12, may increase serotonin levels. This may improve fine motor skills that athletes need for sports like pistol shooting and archery
Cereals, muesli, potatoes bananas, beans, nuts, salmon

Vitamin C
Involved in Iron absorption.
Provides antioxidant activity.
Enhance immunity
Vitamin C after intense exercise may decrease the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections
Strawberries, bell peppers, cantaloupe, kiwi, citrus fruits and potatoes.


Vitamin E

Antioxidant that helps to prevent free radicals from forming
During intense exercise.
Reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress.
At high altitudes, may improve exercise performance
Olive oil, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, salmon and wheat germ.

Beta Carotene/ other Carotenoids
Responsible for antioxidant activity in all tissues, mainly the respiratory tract and skin. Helpful in providing tissue integrity and healing wounds.
Orange, green and other coloured fruits and vegetables


                                                                                    Kate Chremou, Nutritionist, Ms

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