Maximizing Vitamin Intake

Sports Nutrition Tip of the Month

Supplements should be considered just that:  “to supplement” is defined as “in addition to” and  “not to replace”.  Furthermore, the nutrients from food tend to be more bioavailable than from pill form. It is therefore important for athletes to rely on foods rather than vitamin and mineral supplements for obtaining needed nutrients. Eating a varied, nutrient dense diet that contains lots of complex carbohydrates (whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals, fruits and vegetables, and beans) helps to guarantee that you obtain all the vitamins and minerals you need in the right proportions. Calcium and iron have been found to be low in some athletes, so a regular consumption of low-fat foods that are high in calcium (low fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, canned salmon, etc.) and iron (lean meats, dark green leafy vegetables, dried  fruit, etc.) is desirable.

To maximize vitamin intake from your diet, try the following:

  1. Eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
  2. When possible, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those in season.
  3. Do not overcook vegetables; Long cooking times can reduce nutrient content.
  4. Steam or microwave vegetables rather than boiling them. Nutrients seep out in boiling water only to be poured down the drain.