The Missing Piece of the Nutrition Puzzle...

Carbohydrates. Protein. Fat. Energy. Chances are, you’ve heard an abundant amount of these four things, and have quite a good idea about what they are and what they do. And as a young athlete, knowing this is a great starting point, but it’s when we place all of our nutritional emphasis on this that we miss the whole picture - and in turn, harm our growth, recovery, and performance

Potato - The Youth Academy

There is so much more to nutrition than carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and energy. And yet, these are the most talked about and well-known components of nutrition in society today. Many will count their “macros” and their total energy intake, thinking this is the key to nutrition and living a “healthy” life

And yet, in reality, they’re only seeing about a quarter of the picture. They’re focusing solely on energy density of foods and are completely disregarding nutritional density…

They’re completely disregarding all of the micronutrients

Vitamins. Minerals. All the essential and vital chemicals that are required for physiological, psychological, and cellular systems to work at their most effective

And worst yet, there is a reason they’re essential - as the majority we need to consume via our diet. And even more so, these micronutrients also help with the metabolism and absorption of CHO, protein, and fats... And when it comes to young athletes & adolescents, the following are some you should know about:

Broccoli + Carrot - The Youth Academy
Veggies - The Youth Academy
  • VITAMIN A: This helps to promote skeletal growth (i.e. bones), normal tooth structure, healthy skin, eyes, and hair; and is essential for night vision
  • VITAMIN D aids in promoting bone and tooth development, as well as normal body growth. It also plays a role in maintaining the nervous system and preventing rickets
  • VITAMIN C is essential for the formation of collagen (a structural protein, or building block), and is also needed for the absorption of iron, some proteins, and folic acid. It also helps to prevent oxidation of other vitamins, and aids in metabolism of amino acids and calcium
  • VITAMIN B-6 aids metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fats
  • VITAMIN B-12 promotes utilization of protein, fats, and carbohydrates - and also plays an essential role in the formation of red blood cells
  • CALCIUM builds bones and teeth; aids in proper function of muscles, heart, nerves, and iron utilization; and regulates the passage of nutrients in and out of cells
  • MAGNESIUM reduces blood cholesterol, aids in converting blood sugar into energy as well as aiding proper nerve function and bone growth. It also helps utilize Vitamins B, C, E & promotes absorption and metabolism of other minerals... Plus it helps activate the enzymes required for metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids
  • IRON is present in all cells and is one of the constituents of hemoglobin which carries oxygen to the tissues by blood circulation

So, as you can see, these micronutrients play a pivotal role in bodily functions, growth, and repair - and thus, we should give them the attention and power they deserve. And this is why one of our five Nutritional Focus Points in "five serves of vegetables every day" - as it's from these vegetables that we are going to consume the majority of our wonderful micronutrients...

It’s time we began to help reframe the way this next generation views their food and health. It’s time we took the focus away from macronutrients, total energy, and their aesthetics - and directed it toward nutrient rich foods, performance, and how they’re feeling

As this viewpoint, in turn, can only do naught but good for everyone

Nick Maier