Vitamins and minerals are important for your body, but this is especially true at a time when your bones are growing and your body’s hormones are changing. If you like to play sports, your body may require additional calories and nutrients to help you excel in your performance. If you have specific questions or concerns, ask your healthcare provider what’s right for you.
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Strong Bones and Muscles
Your body needs nutrients to help your bones grow and muscles stay strong. You may obtain these types of nutrients by eating a well-balanced diet. Your bones need calcium, and your muscles need protein. Without these nutrients, your bones would become weak and break easily while your muscles would waste or break down. Your teeth also need calcium to stay strong and healthy.
Energy for Physical Activity
It’s important that you eat a healthy diet so that you can give your body all of the calories it needs to get you through your day. Skipping meals can make it difficult to stay awake in class or perform well during practice for a sport. Your body gets energy from the foods you eat. When you skip a meal or make unhealthy food choices, your body will not have the energy it needs. Choosing an empty-calorie food -- a food that has little to no nutritional value -- will have a similar effect as if you never ate.
Eating fruits and vegetables provide your body with nutrients and antioxidants that make it harder for an infection to invade your body and help fight the germs that cause you to become ill. Certain foods, such as citrus fruits, contain vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system. Other foods, such as berries, contain important antioxidants that help protect you from certain diseases and types of cancers.
If you’re worried about whether or not you’re getting an adequate amount of nutrients from your diet, talk to your healthcare provider. Your physician can talk to you about what types of foods you eat and the amount of foods you eat and help you determine if you need to make any necessary adjustments. Never take vitamins or supplements without discussing them with your doctor first. Do not begin a special diet without consulting your physician. He or she can help you determine a safe amount of calories to consume to maintain a healthy weight while still receiving all of the nutrition you need.