John McEnroe Tennis Academy
  | By Irina Belfer-Lehat
Credit Photo: Getty Images/Natikka

 

As an endurance athlete, you need optimal nutrition to train and compete at your best. A balanced diet should give you all the vitamins and nutrients you need. However, difficult training schedules, travel and a lack of homemade meals can mean you don't always consume the best foods for your personal needs.

If you are deficient in certain vitamins, you might feel it in your energy levels and recovery time. Perhaps the most famous antioxidant, Vitamin C, offers a variety of health benefits, including protection from infection and damage to body cells, helping to produce collagen (the connective tissue that holds bones and muscles together), protecting your body from bruising by keeping capillary walls and blood vessels firm, and assisting in the absorption of Iron and Folate. Vitamin C also helps to deliver oxygen to working muscles.

Current recommendations for the daily recommended intake for Vitamin C are 90mg for men and 75mg for women.

Good sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits and tangerines), strawberries, sweet peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and potatoes.

 

Try at home: Vitamin C Strawberry Yogurt Bites
Preparation time: 10 minutes/makes 15-20 bites

In mixer bowl, mix together one cup of Greek yogurt, one tsp of cinnamon, two tbs of finely crushed dark chocolate. Using a paring knife or small melon baller, partially hollow out the top of strawberries to a depth of ¾-inch and gently fill each strawberry with about two tsp of mixture. Cool in the refrigerator and enjoy a healthy, refreshing, and Vitamin C-boosting snack!

Irina Belfer-Lehat

Irina Belfer-Lehat of Nutrition Solutions Co. is a New York State-licensed dietitian and certified dietitian-nutritionist. Irina Lehat RD Nutrition Solutions offers group classes starting in September, for kids in kindergarten through high school. Small groups, affordable prices! Mention this article and receive 20 percent off any services. For more information, call (917) 769-8031, e-mail irinalehat@gmail.com or visit www.irinalehat.com.