Written by Simon Cushman
Top 10 Foods Every Footballer Should Eat
Perfecting your training is one step on your road to athletic improvements, but thinking about the time you actually spend on the field or in the gym, this is insignificant in comparison to the time you spend recovering and adapting. Here’s 10 foods every football player should have in their life to maximise their improvements and keep making the best recovery choices.
#1 Oily fish (Salmon, trout, Mackerel etc)
Fish like salmon are full of healthy fats such as Omega 3 which is especially important for reducing inflammation in the body which can help your recovery and help you to train more regularly. Some of the other health benefits include reductions in anxiety and stress, improve risk factors for heart disease, improve your immune system and improve bone and joint aches. It is also full of protein which is important to keep feed your body with to help repair and recover after training. Eating oily fish 2 times per week is one of the best ways to ensure optimal omega-3 intake.
Eating leafy greens regularly has been shown to decelerate mental deterioration as well as improve mental focus. Spinach has been shown to be one of the best leafy green along with kale, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce with high levels of iron as well as vitamins A and K which help reduce inflammation, improve bone health and reduce feelings of fatigue.
Milk not only has high levels of protein, calcium and carbohydrates to help you recover after an intense session, it is loaded with vitamins and minerals which can improve your hydration levels. All of these factors help can lead to an improved recovery when regularly consumed, especially after training when the need is high.
Eggs are a great source of protein to keep your body topped up with and has all of the essential amino acids including high amounts of leucine which has been shown to be a dominant amino acid in repairing muscle. As well as this, the fats in eggs have been shown to lower blood cholesterol and it contains the vitamins choline and bethane for brain development and function and feelings of happiness. They’re also cheap in comparison to other sources of protein!
Blueberries have been held in high esteem for their status as a superfood. And understandably so, they not only contain anti-oxidants that can protect your body from the effects of free-radicals (that are produced from training) and aid recovery, they also contain vitamins C and K which can help you feel energised, protect and repair bones and protect from infectious diseases.
Avocados are a great source of fibre which is needed for a health gut. They are also packed full of good quality fats that can keep you healthy and keep your body functioning as well as being rammed with vitamins B, C, and K. Vitamin B can help you maintain a healthy immune system, produce hormones and aid in normal growth and development.
This little wonder veg is a tasty addition to most bistro style salads, but the health benefits can include a reduction in inflammation, speeding up the recovery process as well as energising performance, speed and mental focus. You can try them pickled or roasted from a raw form to eat like chips.
Quinoa is a carbohydrate great substitute to pasta and rice as it is low on the GI scale, low in fat and high in fibre and protein (with a full essential amino acid profile) making it the sporting choice of carbs, especially pre training/competition giving you sustained energy without the heavy feeling in your stomach. It also has the added benefit of being totally gluten free!
#9 Chia Seeds
These little gems can be added to yoghurts and baking instead of any other seeds or in addition to them. They are high in Omega 3, fibre and have a high amount of protein compared to other seeds.
Broccoli is in the same family as the leafy greens, but has some added vitamins and minerals that makes it a super power all to itself. It has choline in it which will help mental concentration and focus helping you to produce high quality results even when under fatigue.
#1 Drink: Coconut Water
Although not a food, coconut water has come into fashion due to it being an all-natural source of vitamins and minerals which can be easily absorbed by the body and aid with hydration levels. A 2% drop in your body mass from the loss of water (sweating) can significantly lead to reductions in mental performance, so keep your eye on the prize and focus till the end of the game.
Putting It All Together:
Breakfast: Greek yoghurt, 2 tbsp. Chai seeds, 1 scoop of whey protein, 1 handful of blueberries
Snack: 2 boiled Eggs
Lunch: Chicken breast with; Avocado, beetroot, spinach, Quinoa salad and a glass of coconut water
Post-training: Milk with a scoop of whey protein and a glass of coconut water
Dinner: Salmon, steamed broccoli, potatoes
If you don’t like any of the above, find out the active ingredients and see if you can get it from somewhere else, or in the MyProtein store. Just remember supplements should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet of whole foods, not instead of.