The Winning Formula: 6 Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Elite Soccer Players
As a Matchfit follower, you've likely already grasped the importance of proper nutrition for optimal performance.
But while all vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy body, some are particularly crucial for footballers.
Let's take a closer look at the most important vitamins and minerals for footballers and how they benefit athletic performance.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids in calcium absorption and helps strengthen bones and muscles. In addition, it plays an important role in regulating the immune system, which is essential in preventing illnesses and injuries.
While the sun is the best natural source of vitamin D, it can also be obtained from food sources such as fatty fish (e.g. salmon, tuna, mackerel), fortified dairy products, egg yolks, and mushrooms. Supplements can also help you hit your recommended daily intake.
Ensuring sufficient vitamin D levels can help improve bone and muscle health, which is crucial for footballers (who put a lot of stress on these areas).
Calcium is a mineral that's also essential for strong bones and muscles. Consuming sufficient calcium can help reduce the risk of injuries and improve bone density.
Good sources of calcium include: dairy products, leafy greens and supplements where required.
Iron is another vital mineral for footballers, as it plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to the muscles, making iron essential for maintaining endurance and preventing fatigue.
Iron-rich foods include: red meat, poultry, fish, beans and leafy greens.
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for maintaining healthy bones and muscles. It also plays a role in energy production and can help prevent muscle cramps and spasms.
Magnesium-rich foods include: nuts, seeds, whole grains and leafy greens.
Ensuring sufficient magnesium levels can help improve muscle function, reduce the risk of injuries, and aid in post-game recovery.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important vitamin for maintaining a healthy immune system, it also plays a crucial role in collagen production, which is key for maintaining healthy joints and tissues.
Good sources of vitamin C include: oranges, strawberries, kiwi and broccoli.
6. B Vitamins
B vitamins, including B6, B12, and folate, play a critical role in energy production and can help prevent fatigue and improve endurance. They also play a role in the production of red blood cells, which are essential for transporting oxygen to the muscles.
Good sources of B vitamins include: lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and leafy greens.
Ensuring an adequate intake of these vitamins and minerals is essential for footballers at all levels, but particularly important for those at an elite level where success and squad selection can come down to the tightest of margins.
Sourcing them from natural, whole foods which will make up the foundation of your daily nutrition is the fundamental first step, don't consider supplementation until you have this in place.
How do you know if you're hitting your recommended daily intake for each?
We recommend logging your foods using the myfitnesspal app for 1 week, which will provide you with an analysis of your intake specific to your body. From here you can then make adjustments.
If you'd like to learn more about the essential foods and optimal eating strategies specifically for footballers, then be sure to check out our Football Nutrition Guide.
We also offer a Custom Meal Plan service, where you'll connect directly with our expert football nutritionist who will design and build an eating plan specifically built around your body, goals, schedule and lifestyle.
This is also incorporated as part of our 1-1 Elite Programme, which includes 24/7 in app direct message support from our nutritionist (and sports psychologist, fitness coach and personal mentor) alongside your customised strength and conditioning plan.