Various studies show that highly active people with the likes of athletes and cyclists should take energy-producing and muscle-mending minerals and vitamins for improved power and performance.
In this article, we will discuss five minerals and vitamins for cyclists that are essential for optimal performance and endurance in training and races.
Top 5 Minerals and Vitamins For Cyclists
“To maximise iron absorption, combine iron-enriched food with foods rich in vitamin C.” –Ms Ling Ping Sing, Principle Dietitian from Changi General Hospital
When it comes to essential minerals and vitamins for cyclists, Iron plays a pivotal role in making the red blood cells that carry oxygen to your muscles through the bloodstream.
Added Ms Ling, “Iron requirements will increase if your exercise intensity increases. Athletes who are at risk of low iron are: Female Athletes, Vegetarians and Endurance athletes with intense training.”
If you’re suffering from iron-deficiency anaemia, you’ll feel chronically tired and reduce your riding performance. It’s easy to become iron-deficient because iron is lost through sweat and red blood cell breakdown and menstruation.
Meat, poultry, or seafood are examples of food that are high in iron content.
This essential mineral is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and bone development. Magnesium is also necessary for muscle and nerve functions. This essential mineral also helps in the processing of carbohydrates and fats for energy. Magnesium is found in many plant and animal foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, whole grains; fish, beef, poultry, and even chocolates!
That said, getting magnesium in easy, but it’s also easy to lose. If you train hard or ride intensely, you sweat and urinate more often, and more magnesium will be lost. So, to counter it you need to up your magnesium intake by almost 20 percent. This means your daily recommended magnesium intake is 420mg if you’re a man and 320mg if you’re a woman. Otherwise, there is a chance you might be deficient in magnesium.
This is important for healthy bones, muscle, and immune system. According to research, increasing vitamin D levels in the blood to 75 to100 nmol/L can boost aerobic capacity, and muscle force and growth. Vitamin D also promotes muscle power and speeds muscle recovery time.
Many people don’t have adequate levels of vitamin D because it’s next to impossible to get it all from food alone. There are few foods items rich in Vitamin D unless you can eat salmon, tuna, mackerel, cheese, or egg yolks on a regular basis. However, that’s not the case for most of us. Your body can produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, but even very active cyclists can have vitamin D deficiency as most tend to stay indoors during the morning or slather themselves with sunscreen lotions when outdoors.
Vitamin C is one of the most important essential vitamins for cyclists. Vitamin C is an immunity booster. Vitamin C keeps your immune system healthy, promotes eye health, combats cardiovascular diseases, and prevents wrinkles. The last one is all too familiar with cyclists given the fact they’ve to face the sun, dust, and wind.
Increase your intake of citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, kale, broccoli, strawberries, pineapple, and red cabbage. All of these fruits and vegetables are rich in Vitamin C. If you can’t have all these, you can take vitamin C supplements, but keep your dosage of 500mg a day.
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that protect your cells from damage particularly the ones in your muscles and lungs. Besides, this vitamin improves lung health and breathing capacity at higher altitudes which are essential for pro cyclists. You can get vitamin E in oils like olive oil and nuts. So, unless you eat a diet with extremely low-fat, it’s unlikely you’ll be skimping this essential vitamin.
Eat a handful or two of almonds per day, drizzle olive oil on your salads, veggies or pasta, eat nuts, eggs, leafy greens like spinach, and so on. 15mg of Vitamin E is enough for an adult per day.