If we like sports and practice them regularly, we must not forget that food is one of the key components when it comes to improving our performance and achieving the goals we have set for ourselves.
A good diet can not ensure a good physical shape because it is necessary to follow a proper workout, rest properly, hydrate well … However, the intake of inadequate food can contribute negatively to our athletic performance.
Therefore, we must choose very well the foods that will make up our diet and make sure that they provide us with the nutrients we need at each moment (before, during and after training).
What vitamins provide the athlete
Usually, when we want to improve our sports records and develop a diet for that purpose, we think of carbohydrates that serve as fuel, and proteins that help us protect and develop muscle mass. However, micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals offer a number of benefits to the body that greatly enhance the improvement of our physical form.
One of the main functions of micronutrients is to facilitate the adaptation process that takes place in our body during the physical activity and the recovery period. Likewise, vitamins participate actively in the control of the processes for obtaining energy (from carbohydrates, lipids and proteins) and in the synthesis of a multitude of substances and vital structures (enzymes, hormones, proteins …)
If we add to all this the fact that it is about nutrients that we must ingest through food, since our body is not capable of producing them by itself, we realize how important it is to have them present when designing our diet.
Types of vitamins
It is vitamins that dissolve in fats and oils and are usually consumed through foods with fat. It is not necessary to eat them daily since our body can store them.
Within this type of vitamins we find vitamin A, D, E and K.
These vitamins dissolve in water. Except for vitamin B12, which is stored in the liver, it is not possible to store them so it is necessary to consume them practically every day.
Within the water-soluble vitamins we find the B complex vitamins and vitamin C.
Functions of vitamins
Vitamin A (Retinol): Participates in tissue formation and correct visual function.
Vitamin D (Calciferol): Participates in the growth and development of the skeleton. It favors the absorption of calcium.
Vitamin E (Tocopherol): Antioxidant of tissues. Protective and reconstructive of damaged tissues and red blood cells.
Vitamin K (Phylloquinone): Important in the coagulation of blood (healing of wounds and injuries).
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): It participates in the metabolism of carbohydrates and the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Participates in energy metabolism.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Participates in energy metabolism.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): It participates in the energy and protein metabolism but also in the maintenance of the correct nerve activity.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): It participates in the metabolism of proteins and in the formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid): It participates in protein metabolism, nucleic acid metabolism (DNA and RNA) and formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin): It participates in the metabolism of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), correct function of the nervous system and correct development of red blood cells.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid): Participates in the maintenance of the constancy of body tissues (including bone and muscle), tendon and ligament (collagen) formation, iron absorption and lipid energy metabolism.
Superfoods rich in vitamins
Among the so-called superfoods, there are some products especially characterized by having significant amounts of vitamins.
Moringa, for example, is one of the foods richest in vitamin C. In addition, its content also includes B complex vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin E. Chia Seeds, for its part, are a good source of vitamins of the group B, essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, and vitamin A, so it helps us to take care of our eyesight.
If we look for foods with a high intake of vitamin B12, we can choose superfoods such as Chlorella, Spirulina and Wheat Grass, which will also provide us with vitamin E and other B vitamins.
As for Maca, we can highlight its high content of vitamin B6, vital for the proper functioning of enzymes responsible for regulating the body’s chemical processes.