“Great for carb delivery, so perfect for a pre-match energy booster,” says Dr Ranchordas, who has worked with several Premier League footballers and a number of world champions and gold medallists. “Dried fruits are high in natural sugars and have a similar effect to energy gels used by long-distance runners. Try this out before training first – raisins, apricots, figs, anything really – as it might not agree with your stomach.”
“Bananas provide glucose and fructose (fruit sugar) that is quickly used by the body,” says Ranchordas. “In other words, quick-release carbs. That’s why you often see tennis players eating them when they change ends during a match. Research suggests that glucose plus fructose equals better fluid delivery, meaning more carbs can be absorbed.”
More after the break
Aching for hours, even days, after a game? Better reach for the berries. “Fruits such as cherries, blueberries and pomegranate are rich in polyphenols and anthocyanins, which can act as anti-inflammatories if taken in high enough doses,” explains Ranchordas. “Alternatively, pineapple contains bromelain, another anti-inflammatory which can aid recovery from injury. If you really want to push the boat out, though, get yourself a bottle of cherry concentrate, which contains an abundance of anti-oxidants to help repair the body."