Blueberries

The rigours of the average football season require that every footballer looks after their health and nutrition at all times. Getting the balance right between consuming sufficient calories and maintaining a healthy weight can be tricky, but by including these so-called super-foods in your daily diet, you can ensure that your body always has the fuel it needs to power you through a competitive football season.

1. Venison

Venison is a very lean meat with a strong flavour. This healthy red meat is packed with performance enhancing nutrients, including creatine, iron and vitamin B. These vital nutrients can give you increased power and energy levels to get you through tough matches and long training sessions.

2. Oily fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel

Eating fish for breakfast might not be immediately appealing, but the oils contained in fish such as herring and mackerel can deliver benefits to several areas of your health and performance. Oily fish includes fatty acids that contain various hormones - which are beneficial to muscle metabolism. There is evidence to suggest that eating these essential fatty acids as part of a healthy diet can regulate your weight, boost your immune system and stabilise your moods. Try not to eat oily fish within four hours of training or match action, however.

3. Beetroot

Eat beetroot as part of well balanced salads, and you might be able to boost your performance on the pitch. Beetroot contains nitrates, which can make your muscles work more efficiently for longer. Nitrates are known to aid the blood-flow in the muscles, as well as the delivery of essential fuel. There is also evidence to prove that nitrates assist in the removal of waste from the muscles. You can drink beetroot juice to give you a natural energy boost before and during matches.

4. Blueberries

Blueberries are nature’s candy. Not only are they deliciously sweet, they are rich in vitamin C - which is known to boost the immune system and protect against illness. The antioxidants in blueberries can make you less susceptible to injury and more able to perform at the peak of your powers for the entirety of a match. Eat blueberries slowly throughout the day for the best results.

5. Spinach

There is a very good reason why Popeye always ate his spinach. Packed full of iron and calcium, spinach can help you to maintain healthy blood circulation in all areas of the body. This will help you to maximise your cardiovascular capacity and perform at your best for a full 90 minutes. If you can eat a pre-match meal rich in carbohydrates - with lots of spinach and greens - you can ensure that glucose is slowly released over the course of several hours.

6. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is very high in fibre, and it is full of complex carbohydrates. Eating a breakfast rich in oatmeal will give you a constant supply of energy for the match or training session ahead. Oatmeal is also a rich source of vitamin B, minerals and antioxidants, which all increase energy levels and aid the recovery process. There is evidence proving that eating oatmeal regularly can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.

7. Sweet potatoes

Instead of eating normal white potatoes, make a permanent switch to sweet potatoes, as they are packed with vitamins A and C. These powerful antioxidants can remove a range of toxins from your body, and leave you feeling full of energy and ready for the challenges ahead. The minerals and vitamins in sweet potatoes can help to regulate your blood pressure, and the copper and manganese in them are essential for the efficient performance of your muscles.

8. Bananas

There is a reason why you will often see professional athletes snack on bananas during competitive action, and it’s because bananas are loaded with energy and various minerals. They are packed with potassium and vitamin B, which help to regulate both blood pressure and the digestive system. The vitamin B6 that is found in bananas also delivers anti-inflammatory benefits and protects against heart disease.

Alongside a full schedule of exercise, healthy lifestyle choices and resistance training, these super-foods could give you the edge during the entirety of a challenging football season.