Nutrition Tips

5 Vitamins & Minerals that Athletes Need

Posted on May 25, 2023

As an athlete, you are constantly pushing your body to its limits. To perform at your best, your body needs a wide range of vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy and help you recover. Here are five key nutrients that every athlete should make sure they're getting enough of.


Zinc is essential for muscle growth and repair, making it a crucial nutrient for athletes. It also helps support a healthy immune system, which can be important for athletes who are training hard and pushing their bodies to the limit. Beef is considered an excellent source of zinc. A 3-ounce serving of beef provides about 53% of your daily zinc needs.


Iron is important for the formation of hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen to your muscles. Without enough iron, you may experience fatigue, weakness, and poor athletic performance. Beef contains a readily absorbable form of iron called heme iron. For example, a 3-ounce serving of beef provides about 14% of your daily iron needs.


Magnesium is essential for muscle and nerve function, making it an important nutrient for athletes. It can also help with muscle relaxation, which may aid in recovery after exercise. Beans are an example of a food that provides magnesium. 1 cup of cooked Black Beans provides approximately 15% of the magnesium that you need for the day.


Athletes need potassium because it is essential for regulating hydration and muscle function, making it a key nutrient for athletes. Foods that have potassium include green leafy vegetables like spinach but also bananas, and nuts like pistachios. For example, 1 banana contains 400 mg of potassium which is on the lower end of how much potassium you can sweat out while training in the heat.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for bone health and immune function, making it a crucial nutrient for athletes. It also plays a role in muscle function and recovery. A few foods that contain vitamin D include egg yolks, fatty fish such as salmon, and milk. You can also get vitamin D through sun exposure. However, it is unlikely that sun exposure will allow you to meet all your vitamin D needs.

Athletes need a wide range of vitamins and minerals to support their performance and recovery. By including nutrient-rich foods like beef, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts in your diet, you can help ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to help you perform at your best.