foods rich in carbohydrates lipids proteins vitamins and minerals

Get the basics; understand key nutrients in food for a balanced diet

Your body needs a wide range of nutrients to work at its best, especially if you want to perform well in the gym, on the track, or the sports field. Yes, we know you’ve got quite a hectic and active life, sometimes put your bodies through a lot. We want to make sure we’re supporting you every step of the way.

If protein, carbohydrates and fats are familiar words to you, especially if you are looking at some foods to increase your muscle mass and performance, you might not be so familiar with some other nutrients that also have benefits for your body. Let’s deep dive in foods rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre.

Carbohydrates, protein and fats

We are a bunch of sports nutrition-nuts, so we talk a lot about how important protein and carbohydrates are, and how much to eat of them.

As a quick reminder, protein-rich foods include meat, fish, dairy, tofu, nuts and pulses. Think you might not be getting enough protein to meet your needs? YoPRO has your back with delicious high protein yoghurt snacks and drinks for a reliable source of protein to up your daily intake.

On the other hand, from pasta to rice, bread, and potatoes, carbohydrate foods are in many of your daily meals. Eating carbs before you train will give you the energy you need to smash your workout and maintain energy post-workout, too.

Fats can be a bit trickier as they come in different types that should be consumed in different quantities. They can be divided into saturated fats, unsaturated fats (which include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), and trans fats. Generally, nutritionists recommend minimising the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat and upping your fats from unsaturated fat sources, vegetable oils and fatty fish for instance.

Other nutrients to keep in mind

Apart from protein, carbohydrates and fats, other nutrients will help provide the balance you need in your diet. Let’s take a look at fibre, vitamins, iron and other minerals.

Fibre
There are some parts of plant-based foods that your body can’t break down – this is called fibre. Experts say women should be eating around 25g of fibre a day, and men should aim for 30g .

Wondering about what fibre-rich foods to eat? Put these on the menu!
• Whole grains, such as oats, wholewheat bread and pasta, brown rice
• Fruit such as apples, pears, strawberries, kiwis
• Veggies such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, artichokes
• Legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, baked beans

Vitamins
Besides protein and carbohydrates, make sure you don’t forget micronutrients. If the distinction between macronutrients and micronutrients is unclear to you, learn about them and why they are important for a balanced diet.

Vitamins are either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Vitamins B and C are good examples of water-soluble vitamins. You can find vitamin B in peas, wholegrain bread, and liver, while vitamin C is in citrus fruits, berries, broccoli and tomatoes.

Fat-soluble vitamins, meanwhile, like vitamins A, D, E & K, are stored in your liver and fatty tissue and are best eaten alongside a source of fat. Get your daily dose of micronutrients from these foods:
• Vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, liver, oily fish
• Vitamin D: oily fish, red meat, egg yolks and fortified foods
• Vitamin E: plant oils such as rapeseed or olive oil, nuts and seeds
• Vitamin K: leafy greens like spinach or broccoli, vegetable oils, fermented foods (e.g. cheese)

What’s the best way to make sure you’re eating enough vitamins? It’s no secret – it’s all about eating a varied diet, rich in a variety of fruit and veggies. And don’t forget your water!

Iron
Healthy heroes, we know that you are pumping plenty of iron in your workout and training programs. But are you including enough of this mineral in your diet?
Iron is an example of a mineral that occurs naturally in food in tiny amounts. Eating enough of it helps your body work at its best. Iron, in particular, is important because it helps make haemoglobin, the protein found in red blood cells.
If you want to make sure you’re getting enough iron, try including iron-rich foods like leafy greens, liver, lentils, tofu, nuts and seeds. You can also find foods, like cereals, that have been fortified with added iron to help up your intake. Even if you eat meat, it’s recommended to get your iron from a mix of both plant and animal sources.

Other minerals
From maintaining healthy bones and teeth to converting your food into energy, minerals play an important role in how your body works. Your body can’t produce these micronutrients on its own, so it’s essential to get them from your diet. In addition to iron, other minerals include calcium, sodium, potassium and many more. Some minerals are needed in even smaller amounts - these are called trace minerals.

To eat foods that are rich in minerals, make sure you're including these in your diet:
• Bananas, beans, potatoes, and brussels sprouts for potassium
• Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, and green leafy vegetables for calcium
• Bean, lentils and nuts for magnesium
• Shellfish for zinc and iodine
• And, of course, one of the most important elements of all – water! Every cell in your body needs it, and we know pro-amateur athletes need to replenish after working up a sweat. Aim for about 2-litres a day.

It sounds like a lot to think about, but the foods you eat have a big impact on your health and performance. Too much or too little of certain nutrient groups can hinder your progress, so tracking your food with a food diary is a good idea. You can find out more about the different nutrients your body needs, but if you are thinking of making any major dietary changes or are concerned about your nutrition, speak to a qualified nutritionist or dietitian.

Written by: Ashley Manning

Any medical advice and views expressed are those of the author; readers should obtain medical advice.

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[1] https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/easy-ways-to-boost-fiber-in-your-daily-diet

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-c/

[4] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/micronutrients#types-and-functions

[5] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-a/

[6] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-c/

[7] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-e/

[8] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-k/

[9] Calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth (Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012).

[10] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-best-foods-for-vitamins-and-minerals

[11] https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/food-and-nutrition/eating-well/vitamins-and-minerals#minerals

[12] https://www.nhft.nhs.uk/download.cfm?doc=docm93jijm4n10494.pdf&ver=33495

[13] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day

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