Take the right vitamins
Look in any health food shop and you’ll discover as many different vitamins, minerals and nutrients as there are days in the year. Here are the five you really need…
“B vitamins help the body to produce energy and aid nerve function to help fire muscle contraction,” says sports nutritionist Sally Pinnegar (www.fitnaturally.co.uk). Some of these help the body to release the energy in foods. They’re found in meat and fish, though eggs and milk are rich in a variety on B vitamins.
“Vitamin C is necessary for healthy ligaments and connective tissue,” says Pinnegar. It also plays a role in healing wounds. Red peppers are an even better source of vitamin C than citrus fruits.
“Vitamin C supports strong bones, in conjunction with calcium,” says Pinnegar. “Deficiency is common because most of our vitamin D comes from exposure to summer sunlight, and there is a fear of sunshine. Cycling is low impact so cyclists are more at risk from weak bones than runners.” Sunlight is best, but oily fish is a good source too.
“This is vital for transporting oxygen around the body,” says Pinnegar. “Deficiency is common in female athletes and is a leading cause of impaired performance.” Having enough iron also boosts red blood cell production, and the best way to do this is by eating iron-rich foods such as liver, beans and nuts.
Magnesium is involved in muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, energy production, muscle contraction and maintaining heart rhythm. 100g of dark chocolate provides 82 per cent of a man’s daily need; pumpkin and squash seeds are a healthier alternative.
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