Vitamins & Minerals: For Educators
VITAMINS & MINERALS
The three remaining nutrients – vitamins, minerals, and water – contain no energy or calories yet, an adequate intake is necessary for healthy metabolism, growth, and maintenance of muscle. Moral: they are essential for health and athletic performance.
Vitamin & Mineral Role & Sources
Athletes, especially younger athletes, like to talk about the big three nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It’s a common locker room discussion. Lost in the conversation is the importance of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are in common protein and carbohydrate foods. For example, B vitamins and minerals such as zinc and iron are found in meat and chicken, while potassium and vitamin C are common to potatoes. Their importance; they participate in thousands of processes that help maintain one’s health.
Vitamin & Mineral Quick Source Guide
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients—because acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body. They help shore up bones, heal wounds, and bolster your immune system. They also convert food into energy & repair cellular damage. Download the Vitamin & Mineral Guide to review a food source guide.
The Athlete’s Spark Plugs
On a more fundamental level, vitamins and minerals are akin to spark plugs to a car engine; they help harness the energy from food (gas) and help the body make use of amino acids found in protein (high-octane). An excellent way to obtain vitamins and minerals is by eating the widest variety of foods possible as different foods have different types and amounts of vitamins and minerals. Don’t just stick to chicken breasts all the time, eat a variety of protein like beef, turkey, eggs, milk, and fish. Avoid eating the same fruit each day. Mix it up. Sometimes replace bananas with apples or a glass of 100% orange juice. And give other fruit a try such as melons, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries. Point is; variety yields an entire spectrum of nutrients not obtained from eating the same foods day in and day out.
- Blake, J. (2014). Nutrition & You, 3rd Edition. Retreived from Amazon.com.
- Clark, N (2013), Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Retrieved from Amazon.com.
- Gastelu, et al, (2015) Specialist In Performance Nutrition: Weight Control, Fitness, and Performance Nutrition. International Sports Science Association. Retrieved from ISSA Website.
- US Anti-Doping Agency: Nutrition Guide. Retrieved PDF file from USADA website.