For young athletes, nutrition plays an important part for their growth and development. To attain optimize performance, young athletes must learn what, when and how to eat sufficiently and drink adequately before, between and after their activities. Young athletes must learn about the foods that give them energy and boost their immunity as well for those hard sports they do.
Two types of nutrients are required for this purpose along with sufficient fluids.
A well-balanced diet for young athletes contains appropriate amounts of macro and micro-nutrients for activity and growth. Other than these nutrients, fluids play a vital role in staying hydrated and support the growth and performance of athletes.
These nutrients provide fuel to the body of athletes for physical activity and sports participation.
- Carbohydrates are the important fuel support because they provide the athlete with glucose that gives energy. Glucose is stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. 1 gram of carbohydrate gives approx. 4Kcal to the body. For a 4-18 year old, carbohydrates must comprise 45-65% of the caloric intake. Good sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and milk.
- Proteins play an important role in muscle repair and building of muscles, skin, and nails as well. Mild exercises do not use proteins but when the exercise turns harder and the time of exercise increase, proteins helps to maintain blood glucose through liver gluconeogenesis (that is a process of production of glucose from glycogen that is stored in the liver). 1 gram of protein gives 4kcal. For 4-18 years old, protein must comprise 10-30% of the caloric intake. Good sources of protein include poultry, lean meat, eggs, fish, dairy products, nuts including peanuts and beans.
- Fats are essential to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins that include Vitamin A, D, E, K. It is also important to protect the vital organs and essential fatty acids. It is a caloric dense source of energy. 1 gram of fat gives 9kcals. Fat must comprise 25-35% of the caloric intake of 4-18 year old. Fat from candy, baked and fried foods should be minimized. Good sources of fat include poultry, fish and lean meat, seeds, nuts dairy products, and canola and olive oils.
- Vitamins and
Many vitamins and minerals are required to promote good health of an athlete. But calcium, vitamin D and iron must contain particular attention to ensure an athlete’s consumption of these for their tough physical activities.
- Calcium is a mineral and is very important for bone health, muscle contraction and enzyme activity. The daily recommended intake of calcium for a 4-8 year old is 1000mg/day and for 9-18 years old it is 1300mg/day. The foods that give sufficient calcium is milk, cheese, yogurt, spinach, broccoli and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin D is involved in calcium absorption and is necessary for bone and teeth health. For 4-18 years old 600IU/day are recommended. But this value varies by the geographical location too. The good source of vitamin D includes, sun exposure that is a natural source to gain it, milk, cod liver oil, and fortified cereals.
- Iron is a mineral that delivers oxygen to body tissues. During the teenage, more iron is required to support growth and increase lean muscle mass. To avoid anemia and iron depletion, girls and boys of 13 years old should take 8mg/day of iron. As the age increases, iron needs increase and 18 year old males should take 11mg/day whereas women should take 15mg/day or iron. In athletes, iron depletion is common because of the diets that are poor in fish, meats, and poultry. It may also be due to the loss of blood through the menstrual cycle, urine, and sweats. Iron-rich foods are fortified cereals, all green leafy vegetables, and lean meat.
By eating these nutrients, one can achieve a good health and personality. But, if there is any medical history, find and consult with the best dietetics/ nutritionist in Lahore, Karachi & other main cities of Pakistan.
You can also find best Dietetics/Nutritionist in other main cities of Pakistan
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