Three of the world’s best football players have to maintain a strict diet and training schedule to remain at the top of their game, but you might not know that their diet includes one unlikely superfood.


Think of superfoods and you may think of the likes of liver or even goji berries (the less attention given to bull testicles, the better), but had you ever considered seaweed as being an abundant source of nutrients?

Well, according to The Sun, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema – three of the finest football (soccer) players that have ever played the beautiful game – ensure their diet is simply swimming with seaweed.

The humble ingredient may not be much to look at, and there is probably a good proportion of people who can’t stand the sight of it when they enter the ocean – but seaweed is packed with essential nutrients. These nutrients, naturally, have a string of benefits which could well explain how Ronaldo, Messi & Benzema are still able to perform at the highest level, despite being over 30-years-old.

The Sun’s source, Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, technically says the soccer-playing trio make sure algae is present in their diet. But seaweed is a form of algae, so potato potato.

Alberto Mastromatteo, a Spanish chef for a string of celebrities, explains the benefits, “They contain great nutritional value because with a small amount you get a lot of vegetable protein, which the body synthesizes even better than an animal protein,”

“I am a fervent believer in the extraordinary nutritional power of microalgae, unparalleled sources of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids – and other healthy lipids -, vitamins, carotenoids, antioxidants, etc. That’s why I usually put spirulina and chlorella in all my dishes,”

Seaweed snacks. Image: Yummly

Indeed, Healthline agrees, adding spirulina “gram for gram, may be the single most nutritious food on the planet.” A single tablespoon of spirulina (7 grams) contains 4g of protein and “a small amount of fat — around 1 gram — including both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in an approximately 1.5–1.0 ratio.”

You may think 4g of protein isn’t much, but it’s the quality of the protein that makes all the difference. In the case of the protein in spirulina, it “gives all the essential amino acids that you need.”

Chlorella, too, is incredibly nutritious, with Healthline claiming it to be “50–60% protein.” And, like spirulina, it is a complete protein source, so contains all of the essential amino acids. Other purported benefits of chlorella include being able to improve aerobic endurance and promoting heart and kidney health.

The very fact Ronaldo, Messi and Benzema are able to sprint around the soccer pitch for nigh-on 90-minutes week in, week out, could potentially be attributed to their seaweed diet. Strict training plans are, of course, also a factor, and as we’ve seen from Ronaldo in particular, his workouts can be especially brutal.

Seaweed, spirulina and chlorella come in various forms. Seaweed, for example, can be had as a quick snack. Spirulina and chlorella, meanwhile, are available as a supplement in powder, capsule, tablet or extract form.

Try it and sea (lol) for yourself.

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