If you care for your health and if you want to keep fit, you should not overlook the importance of nutrition. Doing sport is not enough. There are various nutrients that a balanced diet needs to contain in order to provide the body with the necessary amount of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber and water. If these nutrients are not incorporated in the diet, the result might be a metabolism disorder.

Minerals and vitamins are responsible for sport performance. It is therefore vital for sportsmen to have a diet rich in vitamins so that their energy balance can be maintained. Athletes need to consume daily up to 1500 kilo-calories. Hockey players need an amount of 3000 kcal per day. This amount of energy can be easily taken from food.

If the food people eat is varied, mineral and vitamin intake is satisfactory and there is no need for supplementation. Vegetables and fruit are rich in vitamins. They are also excellent antioxidants. Grains are also an important source of minerals and vitamins.

Athletes normally reach more than two thirds of necessary amount of minerals and vitamins included in the customary Recommended Dietary Allowances. The eaten food can provide a double quantity of RDA, making it possible for athletes who need high calorie intake to assimilate up to 6,000kili-calories daily.

However, most athletes choose supplementation to improve their performance. It is important to notice that nutritionally supplementing the diet does not result in improving endurance, cardiovascular function, physical work capacity or muscle strength. Vitamins and minerals can do that.

If the diet of an athlete does not meet his energy needs, vitamin supplements are added to guarantee optimal nutrition. Multivitamin supplements which ensure a Daily Value of 100% offer a proper vitamin balance. They should not be regarded as a substitute to eating a wide range of foods as they contain fiber and phytochemicals very useful for health. Several sports supplements are based on beta carotene antioxidant. About 450 carotenoids can be found in food as well.

Mineral intake is also an important matter which is not to be neglected. Calcium, zinc or iron is vital for athletes. Calcium intake recommendations are made considering the levels able to ensure calcium retention, reduce bone loss, and improve bone mineral density. If the calcium level is low, there is a high risk of fracture with athletes. Broccoli, dairy products, fish, juices are only a few of the many sources of food which ensure adequate calcium store.

Iron is necessary for hemoglobin and myoglobin synthesis and is responsible for aerobic metabolism and oxygen transport. Iron lessening is one of the most frequent iron deficiencies among athletes. Satisfactory amounts of iron can be reached while consuming dark poultry, red meat, fortified cereals, vegetables or grains.

An essential component for the processes of protein synthesis, immunization and healing, zinc is present in antioxidant enzymes, as well as in enzymes responsible for energy metabolism. The mineral is found in seafood, meat or poultry.

One should keep in mind the fact that mineral excess can cause problems to digestion and other mineral absorption. It can also be toxic for the body.

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