10 Football Superfoods
Eat your way to better vision, improved endurance and faster recovery with these unlikely performance enhancers, courtesy of Tottenham Hotspur nutritionist Matt Lovell
Venison steak boosts recovery and power
Free-wheeling venison is bursting with a quintet of performance-enhancing boosters: creatine, arginine, glutamine, iron and vitamin B12. This fab five join forces to increase explosive power and drive you through a punishing regime. Eat after training to maximise recovery between training sessions.
Mackerel burns fat and elevates mood
The fatty acids in oily fish build the hormones that support muscle-metabolism (the rate your muscles burn fat at rest), the immune system and also stabilise your mood. Tuck in after training: eating before a workout could cause an upset stomach.
Broccoli helps vision with vitamins
Vitamin A improves vision by giving the retina a power-up, and vitamin C and glutathione aid recovery. Add broccoli to your post-training meal to maximise the absorption of vitamin A.
Spinach improves endurance
Jam-packed with calcium, iron and chlorophyll, Popeye’s supplement of choice encourages the transportation of blood around the body, improving cardiovascular endurance – so your biceps may not become comically oversized but you can at least run for 90 minutes. Add spinach to a carb-rich lunch to slow the release of glucose into the blood.
Beetroot juice boosts energy
The nitrates in beetroot juice will inspire your muscles to perform above and beyond the call of duty, by increasing bloodflow and fuel delivery. It will also help your muscles dump out any waste. Quench your energy thirst with this before a game and you’ll put in a lung-busting performance and fend off your opponents, with plenty more left in the tank.
Curry spice eases inflammation
Hot to taste, cool by nature, curry spice eases inflammation and accelerates the recovery process. Feeling fresher in training will improve your fitness and skill acquisition. Adding a bit of garam masala to some lean meats after training will help your body recuperate for another battle.
Green tea helps focus
Green tea’s caffeine helps enhance focus on the pitch and supports fat-burning during exercise. This will keep you tuned-in on the pitch and trim off it. It can also help to widen your arteries, transporting more oxygenated blood around the body, increasing stamina.
Almonds fuel workouts
This nut provides the amino acid needed to support creatine synthesis. Put simply, this will encourage bloodflow and allow your body to make the maximum gains from training. Add some to your post-game recovery shake for a quick hit.
Broad beans help awareness
Full of the amino acid tyrosine, as well as a chemical found in the brain called L-dopa, broad beans will help you remain focused during the big game. If you’re not playing a match, stay on the ball by eating a handful before training.
Blueberries stop injury and aid recovery
High in vitamin C, this super-fruit supports the immune system and helps prevent against injury, enabling you to train harder and more productively in each session. Eat throughout the day to gradually build up the body’s antioxidant defences.