Nutrition for Soccer Players: Injury Prevention

Injury is always a risk for soccer players.

A torn ACL is one of the worst and most derailing injuries a soccer player can experience. Even a pulled muscle or tendonitis can keep an athlete off the field for a few weeks at best. 

Proper stretching, warm up, hydration and NUTRITION are all important ways to prevent an injury before it happens. Ensuring your body is strong before something happens can decrease recovery time and get an athlete back on the field in no time.

So What Does Proper Nutrition Look like for a Soccer Player?

Let’s start with the basics.

Every meal should have protein, fiber rich carbohydrates and healthy fats represented. Some examples include…

Breakfast: 2 whole eggs on whole grain toast

Option 2: Smoothie with banana, almond milk, almond butter and blueberries

Lunch: Turkey, avocado, tomato on whole grain bread

Option 2: Rice bowl with beans, chicken, corn, salsa and olive oil

Dinner: Salmon, broccoli, sweet potato

Option 2: Pasta with marinara sauce, turkey meatballs and spinach

Taking a deeper dive, these are the top 3 nutrients every soccer player should be getting plenty of …

  1. Vitamin C
    1. Boosts immune system, preventing illness
    2. Plays a role in tissue repair and maintenance (i.e. skin, muscle, joints)
    3. Absorption of iron which supports oxygenation of blood (aka supports endurance)
      1. Foods sources: oranges, berries, bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts
  1. Vitamin D
    1. Strong bones due to supporting calcium absorption
    2. Building muscle strength which leads to better stability and form
    3. Inflammation reduction
      1. Foods sources: whole eggs, salmon, red meat, fortified foods (almond milk), mushrooms
  1. Omega 3’s
    1. Inflammation reduction
    2. Faster recovery from exercise induced muscle damage (i.e. muscle soreness)
    3. Muscle growth leading to increased strength 
      1. Food Sources: salmon, whole eggs, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts

These nutrients are great for prevention and also effective for a faster injury recovery. All three support decreases in inflammation and quicker muscle repair, which means an athlete will get on the field sooner rather than later.

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