People who exercise regularly in their free time need more energy than others. A healthy diet is essential. The health’s diet requirements may vary and depend on the type of the sport. A well-complemented athletic diet increases not only physical performance but also mental fitness, which in turn has a positive effect on susceptibility to injury or on technique and tactics. In general, a balanced diet helps the body to achieve good health.
Health problems and injuries occur again and again in children’s as well as amateur and competitive football. From signs of fatigue or cramps to sore muscles, strains, or torn muscle fibers. Most problems of this nature arise before competitions or training.
The daily diet, a special diet for budding muscle problems, and the drinks you drink before or after the competition are of crucial importance. Only when the body is supplied with all nutrients and sufficient fluids can it absorb the stress in the best possible way.
Nutrition in competition
Nutrition on the day before the competition, on the day of the game itself, right before the game, at halftime, and after the competition is particularly important. Only when all these aspects are taken into account can we expect maximum performance and the best possible regeneration from our body. Even though many fantasy football sleepers consider this aspect.
But what should a meaningful diet look like to support football performance and general health?
1st evening before: It is important to eat the evening before. This is where the preparation for the game or training begins! Carbohydrate stores need to be replenished, i.e. pasta or potatoes with vegetables, or salad with fish or lean meat should be on the table. Rice is dehydrating and therefore not that suitable. Since sleep is also important, lamb’s lettuce is ideal. Lamb’s lettuce contains valerian oil – and therefore calms you down. Therefore, please do not eat on the day of the game, otherwise, you will miss the game.
2nd match day: You should be awake at least four hours before the start of the game. Light breakfast without sausage. Sausage sets inflammatory processes in motion in the body. As a result, the susceptibility to injuries is increased and the general performance is considerably reduced in terms of duration.
- Breakfast: muesli with milk or yogurt, fruit, soft egg or omelet, bread or, better, whole grain bread with cheese or salmon. ATTENTION: Not only containing carbohydrates, otherwise the blood sugar level will rise too much and the body will try to bring it back into balance. In doing so, too much may be broken down again and a negative value is created. Therefore, 4 slices of bread with butter and jam and an apple are the wrong choice. Keyword: BALANCED
- Lunch (if the game takes place in the afternoon): light meal without pork or poultry due to their pro-inflammatory properties. If meat, then only lean beef. Otherwise, pasta with low-fat sauces (the popular tomato is perfect) with a little Parmesan and pepper and olive oil or potatoes with fish (not fried) and vegetables or a light soup with potatoes. And again no rice!
- Right before the game: normal mineral water to warm up, preferably still or medium. Take another 250 milliliters of water 10 minutes before the game/training session. Which water is best? You can find out more about this here …
- Halfway through: The carbohydrate supply is enough for about 60 minutes. So halftime should be used to get a little more carbohydrates so that the last minutes of the game can be played at full power. So another 300 milliliters of the sports drink should be drunk in small sips. A small energy bar is perfect (lots of sodium, good amounts of carbohydrates, and protein). Rinse again with water – and go on.
- After the game: First drink as much as you have lost body weight. Usually, this is about 1 kg loss, which can be explained very strongly by the high loss of fluid. That is, drink approx. 1 liter in small amounts. Again, pay attention to the selection of the drink. This promotes regeneration, thus lowers the susceptibility to injury, etc., and ensures lasting positive development.
We hope we gave you a little insight. And that we can support you a little more in your daily work, be it as a coach or as a player. Do you have any other good diet tips? Then write to us!
Health and nutrition recommendations for muscle problems
Despite proper and good nutrition, sore muscles, pulled muscles or even torn fibers and other acute muscle injuries are unfortunately the order of the day in football. And, of course, there are a number of things that can be done to minimize the risk of muscle injury. In addition to a good physical condition, nutrition can also make a significant contribution to positively supporting the muscles both during regeneration and in prevention. We already discussed nutrition in great detail before the game. Now we want to give you tips for a balanced diet with muscle problems to support regeneration and prevention so that you can quickly find your way back to good health.
Which foods and especially which ingredients work in which way?
In addition to a good supply of protein (eggs, pancakes, milk, beans), essential amino acids, i.e. those that the body cannot produce themselves, are important for repairing muscle injuries. If there is an undersupply here, the regeneration takes place more slowly and the basic structure is not as stable as it would be permanently necessary to tolerate the sporting loads. The central amino acid that we like to be undersupplied with is lysine. A lot of players have “normal” eating habits which automatically means that they are not adequately supplied with lysine. In order to fix muscle problems more quickly and also to strengthen the muscular base, the players should eat more foods that are rich in lysine, as this has a positive effect on the muscles as a protein structure.
So we hold on to it: Lysine – a very important component in the prevention and repair of muscle injuries, as well as after stress.
Foods containing lysine are, for example:
- Soy products
- Parmesan cheese
It is, therefore, important to supplement your eating habits with the foods mentioned above, if this does not happen to you regularly anyway.
Now, as announced, we want to make another recommendation regarding certain fatty acids. These are the famous omega-3 fatty acids. Like lysine, they also counteract inflammation in the muscle fibers. This means that these fatty acids help the human body repair muscle injuries. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are used by the body to strengthen the muscles’ membranes. This happens through the storage in the tissue of the muscles. As a result, the resilience of the muscles increases, which in turn has a preventive effect. Proper nutrition can therefore reduce the likelihood of muscle injuries during sustained high levels of exercise.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the following foods:
- Flaxseed oil
- Rapeseed oil
In our next little recommendation, we show which spices and herbs can support our muscles as small, powerful helpers.
In general, it can be said that muscle problems go away faster if the daily diet is rich in herbs and spices. On the one hand, this is due to a blood-thinning effect. This improves blood circulation and ensures a better supply of nutrients to the muscles. Above all, ginger, freshly ground pepper and cinnamon on the spice side and parsley, chives, oregano, and rosemary on the herb side are particularly worth mentioning here. Also because they are available in every supermarket and are easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
On the other hand, it has now been proven that spices and herbs have a great anti-inflammatory effect. Ginger also plays a major role here. In this context, ginger counteracts the production of inflammation and partially “blocks” it. However, the emerging anti-inflammatory agent is chili. It has been proven that chili also has a pain-relieving effect. An ingredient called capsaicin is responsible for blocking the transmission of pain in the area of the nerves, to put it simply. This blockage also causes inflammations in the muscles to subside more quickly, as the same substance is blocked that makes the inflammation persist. Chili also activates the metabolism and in this way also ensures that muscle problems are “transported away” more quickly.
By the way, chili and ginger can not only be used as seasoning. After eating, swallow 1-2 small dried chili peppers with a glass of water or put ginger in slices in a bottle of drinking water and drink from it throughout the day – and our stressed muscles will be happy. But be careful: don’t chew the chili peppers … it just burns like crazy 🙂 Unless you think that is exactly what is great!
The last part of our little excursion into the world of nutrition is pineapple and magnesium, which is very famous in the world of athletes.
For years, nutrition experts have recommended pineapples and papaya for a faster fading away, especially for sore muscles. The reason is very simple. Both fruits contain enzymes that have anti-inflammatory effects. In the pineapple, the crucial enzyme is bromelain, while in the papaya the enzyme papain takes on this helping role.
Both ensure healthily and, above all, complete digestion of our food. This means that the proteins are also completely broken down into their individual parts, the amino acids, with the help of these enzymes, which ensures that the muscles are adequately supplied with vital substances and nutrients. It is important to know that the body needs these enzymes for digestion. The normal amount of enzyme present in the body is often insufficient to digest the modern diet, which is often very protein-rich and industrially processed. The food is only digested incompletely, which in athletes can lead to a lack of sufficient supply to the muscles.
The pineapple has a great advantage over the papaya: while the enzyme is mainly found in large quantities in the green, i.e. unripe state of the papaya, bromelain is also found in sufficient quantities in the ripe and sweet-tasting fruit of the pineapple. Incidentally, the middle, somewhat wooden stalk contains a lot of enzymes – so you might feel like biting a small piece of wood. The muscles will thank you 🙂
And the magnesium? Many people quickly drink a large sip of water enriched with magnesium tablets or a powder when they have muscle cramps or if there are any signs of it, and then they are said to be fine again soon. Does that bring anything? A definite no. At least not in the shortness of time. Almost 100% of magnesium is found in the body’s cells. Not or only very slightly outside, for example in the blood. Of course, magnesium has a positive effect on muscle cramps or sore muscles. But the decisive word here is prophylaxis! It has to be stored in the cells for a long time, i.e. where it is needed. Then it has the desired preventive effect.
So if you tend to have cramps at night, for example after training or intensive games, you should also take a little magnesium (approx. 200mg) every day for two to three months. But be careful: not everyone can tolerate this, and this means going to the toilet soon. In larger amounts, magnesium acts as a laxative. Hence the recommendation to divide this daily additional magnesium intake into two to three servings. Make sure to use high-quality magnesium – the magnesium in the tablets from the discounter is only insufficiently absorbed by the body and is almost completely excreted.
In general, the “normal” amateur player should first spice up his diet with magnesium-rich foods before taking pills or a powder. This is usually sufficient. But if you are in training almost every day and still have problems despite good nutrition, you should try this out. And what has often forgotten: muscle cramps during a game or after a workout are often simply a sign of insufficient fluid in the body. In other words, the player simply drank too little during the day and during exercise.