Soccer Nutrition: Tips to Boost Performance and Recovery (2024)

What type of nutrition do soccer players need? Proper sports nutrition is important for any soccer player, from youth all the way up to the professional level, who is trying to prove their mental clarity, their performance and athleticism on the field, and their recovery off it.

Food is medicine and food is fuel which is why it is very important to be aware of what you put inside of your body because if your food is not fueling you, it is harming you. Nowadays, thanks to technology and social media, there are new diets and trends everyday about nutrition, that makes it hard for soccer players, and all athletes in general, to know what works and what doesn’t.

Everyone eats differently and what works for some players may not work for others, but there is one way of eating that can benefit everybody. In this blog I will explain what real food is and give some soccer nutrition tips to help you look and feel your best.

soccer nutrition Image by Source

How Light Relates to Sports Nutrition

Nutrition is very important when it comes to performance and recovery, but there is something even more fundamental than food. To understand food you first have to understand light, specifically sunlight, the circadian rhythm, and the mitochondria, which are all part of quantum mechanics.

What is photosynthesis?

Sunlight and the lack of sunlight dictates every physiological function in your body because of your circadian rhythm, the internal clock inside your brain that tells you what time it is and what hormones and functions to prioritize. Sunlight is also very important because it helps us understand what makes food in the first place and this all begins with photosynthesis.

Plants are living organisms that have the ability to create their own food with the help of sunlight because they are always connected to the electromagnetic power grid of the Earth. What this means is that they are converting one form of energy, light energy, into chemical energy, in the form of glucose, which is the same thing as sugar. They can then use the glucose/sugar to carry out important physiological processes such as growth, development, and reproduction.

Real Food is Technically Condensed Sunlight

If you really think about it, plants are creating physical matter in the form of glucose, by gathering a bunch of photons, or light particles, from the sun. This is why I believe real food is technically condensed sunlight.

Real food also has a photogenic barcode, a specific chemical fingerprint that is influenced by factors like sunlight exposure, soil nutrient profile, the type of water it received, that affects your mitochondria and this is why it is best to prioritize eating local and in-season foods.

Food that is created directly by the power of the sun can be referred to as “electron-rich food” while processed foods that are created in a laboratory do not have this same energy and abundance of electrons and can be referred to as “electron-depleted food.”

Bioenergetics- How do Cells Transform Energy?

Bioenergetics is the study of how living organisms utilize the nutrients of the food consumed to create and manage energy. The main thing I want you to remember from here is that bioenergetics has four steps, but you only really need to know about one of them.

1- Glycolysis

2- Citric Acid/Krebs Cycle

3- Electron transport chain

4- Oxidative phosphorylation

The third step is called the Electron Transport Chain. When you consume food you don’t absorb the micro or macro nutrients of the food, you absorb the electrons of those foods because electrons are the energy currency of the universe.

Prior to contrary belief we can gather electrons, or energy, in many ways not just eating such as by getting sunlight, getting enough red light exposure (primarily though morning sunlight and supplementing with red light therapy if needed), grounding, exercising, breathing properly, and following proper hydration guidelines.

soccer nutrition

What to Eat as a Soccer Player

Now that you are more familiar with how light relates to food, let’s talk about how a soccer player’s diet should look. Everything relates back to light, the mitochondria, and circadian rhythms which is why I focus on eating the most nutrient dense foods that are local, in season, and ideally organic.

The best way to find these foods is by supporting local Farmers Markets so that way you know exactly where your food is coming from. If you shop at a grocery store you have to learn how to read food labels and understand what it all means, especially the ingredients.

Some grocery stores do have good products, but there is a lot of stuff sprayed and added to foods that ruins performance and recovery. Also, it is best to eat foods with the least amount of ingredients and with ingredients that you can actually pronounce and that you are familiar with.

As a general rule, only consume ingredients that you would put on your skin and vice versa, only put things on your skin that you would consume. This is a list of the main foods to focus on eating.

  • Fresh Fruit that is in-season
  • Fresh Vegetables that are in-season
  • Fermented Vegetables
  • Pasture raised Eggs
    • Ideally corn and soy free
  • Red meats
    • Ruminant meat (cows, bison, etc)
    • Ideally grass-fed
  • Lean protein
    • Pasture raised grilled chicken
  • Seafood
    • Ideally wild caught
  • Organs Meats
    • Ideally fresh and grass-fed
  • High Quality Carbs
    • White rice- better than brown rice
    • Sweet potato
    • Sourdough bread
    • Raw honey
    • Maple syrup or blue agave
  • Healthy Fats
    • Butter
      • Ideally raw and grass fed
    • Olive oil
  • Raw Dairy – RAW FARM is the best brand for Raw Dairy in California
    • Raw Milk
    • Raw Kefir
    • Raw Cheese
    • Raw Butter
  • Bee Pollen
  • Nuts and seeds
    • Must be prepared properly which means soaking over night
  • Dried fruit is okay as a snack occasionally, especially before a game or training
  • Natural Spring Water

Here is a list of foods to avoid

  • Ultra processed foods
    • Junk food, cookies, chips, candy, energy drinks
  • Whole grains
  • Fried Foods
  • Seed oils
  • Leaves and stems
  • Legumes
  • Pastured Dairy Products- Pasteurization kills all of the good nutrients of the milk
    • This included greek yogurt

This way of eating can be considered an animal-based diet, which focuses on eating animal and organ meats, dairy products, raw honey, fermented vegetables, as well as plant foods that have the least amount of defense chemicals, such as fruits, white rice, and sweet potatoes.

The raw honey, blue agave, maple syrup, and fresh fruit are sweets that are much better and healthier than any processed sweet. These are the foods to seek if you ever get cravings for sugary junk food.

soccer nutrition Images by Source

The Importance of Meal Timing

Not only what you eat matters, but also when you eat. The timing of your meals is very important and can make or break your performance on the soccer field.

Eat in the morning

Ideally you should be eating breakfast about 30-60 minutes after waking up, getting morning sunlight and getting grounded. Your first meal of the day should consist mainly of healthy fats and proteins like raw eggs. These things are done to help align your circadian rhythm.

Do not Eat at Night

You also do not want to eat anything 3 hours before sleep so that your body can focus on actually recovering instead of having to spend energy on digesting that food while you sleep.

Pre Game Meal

Your pre game meal should consist of healthy fats, high quality carbs, and some high quality protein, but save up most of your protein intake for after the came, since protein is more for recovery.

Most experts would recommend eating a bunch of carbs before a game, especially the night before, to help increase glycogen stores because most people think carbs are the primary fuel source. Most people also think fat is bad because that is just something people have been led to believe.

Some types of fat are, such as seed oils, and some types are essential for our health and brain function such as saturated fats and cholesterol from animal products. Your brain is mostly made up of fat, saturated fats and cholesterol, and fat helps insulate your nerves which means it helps them conduct electric signals faster.

Those are just some of the reasons to eat a lot of healthy fats but another reason is that I now believe that fat can be used as the primary fuel source of the body, not carbs. Becoming a fat burner is a skill that can be learned by working with nature, fixing your redox potential, your mitochondria, and aligning your circadian rhythms.

Check out this Podcast to learn more about how to become a fat burner.  With all this being said, you cannot expect one pre game meal to give you everything you need for a game. Real pre-game nutrition is consistent nutrition for the days, weeks, and even months leading up to that one game.

Post Game Meal

A post game meal should also consist of healthy fats, high quality carbs, and high quality protein, but now your focus should be protein. Most experts would suggest eating more lean protein like chicken, which is great to eat, however I prefer to eat a lot of red meat.

People think that there is a correlation between red meat and heart disease, cancer, and clogged arteries. The reason people are led to believe this is because there are epidemiology studies that show correlations between the two, but correlation does not mean causation. Most of these studies that claim “red meat is bad” use super low quality meat like burgers from McDonald’s and they even blame the meat for the side effects of the processed buns and other fake ingredients.

The quality of meat is also super important which is why it is best to get grass fed if possible. I try to eat red meat as much as I can and I always prefer it more than chicken, but either is fine if you are still worried about red meat for some reason. Remember, sufficient protein helps to promote recovery and muscle repair.

Similar to the pre game meal you cannot rely on one post game meal to recover faster because proper recovery means taking care of your body day in and day out for the days, weeks, and even months leading up to that one game.

Fueling Up Properly Before Games or Training Sessions

Skipping meals before games or training sessions can leave you feeling like a deflated soccer ball so make sure to have a small snack, like local fruit and honey, an hour or two before the match.

Sports drinks and hydration

When talking about nutrition we also have to talk about hydration. As a soccer player you must learn how to properly hydrate your body, which involves eating the right foods consistently, drinking natural spring water, and avoiding sugary sports drinks.

Understanding Essential Nutrients & Anti-nutrients

The last thing to talk about when it comes to nutrition is that there are six essential nutrients: water, carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Carbohydrate:

The best sources of carbohydrates for footballers include in-season fruits, raw honey, raw dairy, and plants that do not have many plant toxins and anti-nutrients such as sweet potato or white rice.

Fat:

The best sources of fat footballers include saturated fats from animal meats such as grass-fed beef and other ruminants, seafood such as salmon, raw dairy such as raw butter, some fruits such as avocados and coconuts, and nuts if they are prepared properly to get rid of the defense chemicals.

Protein:

The best sources of protein include complete sources of protein like those found in animal meats, such as grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, eggs, and wild-caught seafood. Other great sources of protein include raw dairy. Some plants do have proteins, but most, if not all, plant proteins are incomplete, and you are better off eating a complete source of protein from animal products.

Vitamins:

You want to be eating nutrient-dense foods with lots of vitamins in their most bioavailable form. We are animals and we can get the most bioavailable vitamins by eating animal products. For example, vitamin A in plant form is beta carotene so when you get vitamin A from a plant your body has to spend energy to convert it to Retinol, the animal form of vitamin A.

The animal product is referred to as being more bioavailable because it is in a form that our body can use faster than the plant form, which is less bioavailable. Vitamin D is different from the other vitamins because it acts more like a hormone than a vitamin. Vitamin D is also the only vitamin that we can make if we expose ourselves to sunlight, but we can also get vitamin D from fatty fish, egg yolks, and beef.

Minerals:

Minerals act like the spark plugs in the body and they help your body carry out various important physiological processes. Some minerals are also known as “electrolytes” and these are essential for hydration.

Water:

The water inside your body is different from regular water because it is structured water, also known as Exclusion zone water. This type of structured water is also found in “alive” food, which are real foods such as fresh local fruit, eggs, raw dairy, and meats, which can actually help hydrate you more than drinking water alone.

Antinutrients

Now let’s talk about antinutrients which are exactly what they sound like. These substances can disrupt nutrient uptake, making it harder for your body to get the nourishment it needs and a lot of plant foods are full of these defense chemicals.

This is not saying that these defense chemicals are poisonous, some are such as with poison ivy, but even plants like spinach and kale have defense chemicals, such as oxalates. Most people have been led to believe that all green plants are healthy and have no side effects, but sometimes it may be these antinutrients that give you an unexpected allergic reaction or something else.

A moderate amount of anti-nutrients won’t cause harm, but it’s important to be aware of them. Animal foods have no defense chemicals which is why many people are able to reverse diseases and severe conditions by eating a carnivore diet, which is eating meat only.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, has an entire section dedicated to proper nourishment guidelines.

Do soccer players need supplements?

There are various soccer supplements that could be beneficial for soccer players, but they should only be considered if you have fixed your nutrition and hydration needs first.

What is the best balanced diet for a soccer play?

Every soccer player’s diet is different but one really important thing to focus on is to eat foods that are local and in season. In nature animals only eat foods that are local to their environment. We are the only animals “smart” enough to eat foods that are flown from across the world without ever realizing the best food we can eat is what was created by the power of the sun around us.

What should a soccer player diet consist of?

A soccer player’s diet should consist of local fruits and vegetables, high quality carbs, healthy fats, high quality protein, spring water, raw honey, and raw dairy if you can tolerate it. Check out this blog to find out what to eat before a soccer game.

Conclusion

In conclusion, proper soccer nutrition is important for soccer players who want to optimize their overall performance on the field as well as muscle recovery. To meet the physical demands of the beautiful game players need to reach peak performance by fueling themselves with the right foods that provide the right amount of nutrients and energy.

In this blog, I covered everything you need to know about soccer nutrition, from where real food comes from, to what foods to prioritize, the different types of nutrients, and I answered frequently asked questions.

Similar Posts