Thanks to the efforts of organizations like the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association, today’s collegiate and professional athletes are eating better diets than ever before. Most programs today have a dedicated staff of sports dietitians to work one-on-one with athletes to optimize performance and recovery. We’ve come a long way from the days when good nutrition was defined as a meal of of steak and potatoes and a post race banana!

A performance-ready athlete has sophisticated dietary requirements, particularly in the area of vitamins and minerals. With more collegiate and professional sports organizations feeding their athletes nutrition-packed Thrive Ice Cream, we thought it would be helpful for you to know how a six-ounce cup of Thrive stacks up on 10 nutrients athletes need.

1. Vitamin B

Vitamin B gives athletes the energy to push through long workouts and games. Included in this family of micronutrients are vitamins B6 and B12, thiamin, riboflavin and folate. The body uses them to convert protein and sugar into energy and produce red blood cells. Athletes with low levels of B vitamins perform worse during high-intensity exercise. How Thrive stacks up: B6, B12, Folate, Riboflavin, Thiamin – 20% DV

2. Calcium

According to a study by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, each cup of skim milk consumed per day reduces runners’ incidence of developing a stress fracture by 62 percent. Calcium, along with vitamin D, potassium, and protein in dairy significantly increases bone density and strength that is key for high-impact activity. How Thrive Stacks Up: Calcium – 40% DV

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps reduce coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath during and after exercise. It also significantly decreases the risk of colds. How Thrive stacks upL Vitamin C – 50% DV

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps mitochondria in muscle fibers regenerate energy after muscles contract, making an athlete remain energized. How Thrive Stacks Up: Vitamin D – 25% DV

5. Vitamin E

Taking this antioxidant can slash the chances of becoming sick. Taking Vitamin E lowered the risk of pneumonia by 69 percent among nonsmokers who exercise, according to a study in Clinical Epidemiology. How Thrive stacks up: Vitamin E – 25% DV

6. Iron

An hour of working out can deplete up to 6 percent of the body’s iron, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen to muscles. Losing too much iron can result in iron-deficiency anemia, which causes fatigue and zaps endurance during lengthy games and workouts. How Thrive stacks up: Iron – 25% DV

7. Magnesium

Magnesium is a component in more than 300 enzymes involved in energy metabolism and plays a role in bone formation. Healthy bone density is important for avoiding stress fractures during high-impact sports. Magnesium is lost through sweat. How Thrive stacks up: Magnesium – 20% DV

8. Potassium

There’s a reason marathoners grab a banana after crossing the finish line: Its high potassium content helps nix cramps and speed up recovery. How? The mineral works with sodium to help your muscles and nerves work properly. Plus, says Pritchett, “It’s the primary electrolyte in intracellular fluid, meaning it plays a big role in balancing water content throughout the body.” Consider it essential fuel following a tough workout or a strenuous outing lasting more than an hour. How Thrive stacks up: Potassium – 12% DV

9. Sodium

When athletes rehydrate with water alone, they could experience heat cramps or hyponatremia, a low concentration of sodium in the blood that can be fatal in extreme cases. Heavy or salty sweaters, athletes working out in hot, humid temperatures, and endurance athletes need to pay close attention to their sodium intake. How Thrive stacks up: 100-110 mg based on flavor

10. Zinc

Loading up on carbs while limiting protein and fat causes deficient levels of zinc in up to 90 percent of athletes. This can zap energy and endurance. USDA research found that limiting zinc intake lessened cyclists’ oxygen uptake, leading them to fatigue more quickly. Make sure athletes always have plenty of this important mineral. How Thrive stacks up: Zinc – 25% DV

Thrive Ice Cream, which also contains nine grams of protein and four active probiotics in each six-ounce serving, is a powerful tool for sports dietitians to ensure their athletes get these 10 essential vitamins and minerals. And don’t worry about athletes eating it; Thrive is real ice cream and its natural flavors and creamy texture are delicious! Learn more at our website.

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