The gamer’s diet: Eat better to perform better!

The gamer’s diet: Eat better to perform better!

One of the most important things top athletes consider as part of their physical preparation is nutrition. With rigorous training schedules and grueling competitions, athletes – and gamers – need to think carefully about what they’re putting into their bodies.

In this article:

  • Top 10 eye health foods
  • Meals for gamers from sunrise to sunset
  • Foods to avoid
  • Hydration

Regardless of your lifestyle, though, a healthy, balanced diet is all part of boosting your cognitive and physical faculties. By following this, you can easily maintain your health during major match days or long periods of training.

For example, if you want to be competitive in the world of esports, you need to have exemplary eyesight and overall healthy eyes. This can be achieved through a diet rich in nutrients. But it’s not always easy to know what foods are good for your eyes (although thanks to mothers trying to get their children to eat vegetables, I’m sure we all know carrots will help you see in the dark… allegedly).

That’s why we’ve prepared an overview of what foods you should integrate into your daily life to improve your health and gaming performance. And don’t forget to help yourself along by adding some blue light filtering gaming glasses to your setup!

    Our top 10 eye foods for peak gaming nutrition

    1. Silly rabbit, seeds are for kids!

    Chia seeds in a bowl

    Channel your inner Bugs Bunny. Chia, flax, and hemp seeds are known to be great sources of vitamin E and omega-3.

    Vitamin E helps to adjust blood pressure, but also protects your eyes thanks to it also working as an anti-oxidant.

    Omega-3 contributes to good brain health and strengthens your ability to concentrate during competitions.

    Your competitors will see you as a real machine!

    2. Citrus fruits

    One orange sliced in half

    Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Like vitamin E, vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant and helps reduce age-related eye damage.

    Citrus is an excellent fruit for gamer nutrition, and it's easy to eat in between rounds of Fortnite. Its nutrients help slow the loss of visual acuity. This means it helps preserve your sight’s precision, which is essential for gamers trying to spot the enemy from a distance.

    3. Carrots

    a hand holding a carrot under a beautiful blue sky

    Unless you’re a particularly intrepid farmer, growing carrots is much harder than in Farmville. So, for optimum gamers nutrition, we suggest you just buy them from the store. And get them often!

    That’s because they’re rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene. Vitamin A plays an essential role in vision as it allows for the synthesis of another protein called rhodopsin, which helps the retinas better absorb light.

    That’s why people often believe carrots help you seek in the dark… or in Resident Evil.

    Although the scientific community is still quite divided over beta-carotene’s role in vision, they agree it’s a necessary nutrient to synthesize vitamin A. So, the chemical correlation between the two nutrients makes it important to take into consideration.

    4. Oily fish

    Pan seared salmon on plate

    Another way for gamers to get more of that omega-3! Oily fish are fish that generally live in cold waters and have very specific oils and fats in their intestines and body tissues. You might find some of them when you go fishing on The Sims.

    Eating oily fish is good for gaming nutrition too, thanks to all that omega-3!

    Some studies have also found that fish oil can reverse dry eyes, especially those caused by long screen time. Ideal for the esports and marathon gamers among us.

    The fish that contain the highest levels of fatty acids (omega-3) are:

    • Tuna
    • Trout
    • Anchovies
    • Sardines
    • Herring
    • Salmon
    • Mackeral

    So get cooking! Just also make sure you open a window… these fish are quite pungent!

    5. Legumes (beans and stuff)

    Bowls of different beans

    Legumes aren’t just beans. The category covers beans, chickpeas, lentils, clover and more food great for gaming nutrition.

    They’re generally rich in iron and, like nuts, legumes are great sources of vitamin E and phosphorus.

    Vitamin E prevents and slows the aging of the eye, while phosphorus is a nutrient that improves energy production and brain activity.

    That’s why beans and lentils are important foods. They have a real nutrition edge that gives gamers a real competitive edge. Plus, they have a bunch of other useful vitamins that help your metabolism function at its best.

    6. Yams

    yummy sweet potatoes

    Like carrots, yams are high in beta-carotene, its what gives them both their orange color! They’re also a great source of vitamin E, that powerful antioxidant that helps your ocular system to function, and help both your night vision and the preservation of your cognitive functions.

    So, if you want better eyes than Geralt’s Witcher vision then get cooking!  

    7. Beef or soy steak

    Juicy steak in a plate

    Real beef steak is rich in zinc, a very important trace element for eye health. One of the most beneficial things zinc does is speed up the absorption of vitamin A into the body and considerably delays macular degeneration.

    That’s the central part of your retina, or if it’s easier, the bit that’s red in Terminator’s eye. Your eye naturally contains high levels of zinc, so an additional supply helps preserve their condition. It also plays a role in the production of melanin, a substance that helps protect your pupils from ultraviolet light. Wearing UV protection glasses at the computer can also help. 

    But don’t worry vegetarians, soy steak is a great alternative to beef and has all the same benefits. As well as containing zinc it also provides you with a good source of vitamin B, iron and other essential antioxidants.

    The veggies win again…

    8. Leafy greens

    leafy greens in pan optimal nutrition for gamersLeafy greens like spinach, kale and cabbage may taste gross to some, but they’re also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as being excellent sources of vitamin C.  Plus, you might get muscles like Pop-Eyes’.

    Lutein is a molecule found in the retina and lens of the eye. Along with zeaxanthin, lutein maintains eye health by filtering out blue light from sunlight, helping prevent digital eye strain.

    This blue light is harmful to your eyes and found in all artificial light sources like computer screens and mobile phones. Basically, things gamers spend a lot of time staring at.

    Therefore, for top gaming nutrition, players should eat a variety of the aforementioned veg for tip top eye health. 

    9. Eggs

    A few eggs in a wooden bowl

    Like leafy green vegetables, eggs are excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which will help keep your retinas in good shape. Eggs are also good sources of Vitamins C and E, in addition to zinc. In fact, you could say they’re eggcellent…

    Zinc, as we’ve already covered, is a great trace element for vision. It helps the eye properly function by bolstering the optic nerve and exerting regular protective action across your eyes.

    10.  Water

    Water being poured in a glass

    Sometimes you can be so caught up in a game you forget to hydrate. But drinking water is crucial for everyone, not just gamers. It’s the best ally to preserve your eye’s health and improve your overall physical fitness.

    It's always nice to drink soft drinks, or the guilty pleasure of all gamers – energy drinks! But they won’t have the same effect as good old-fashioned water.

    That’s because as well as hydrating your body, water hydrates your eyes. It helps prevent retinal dryness, which is especially good if you forget to blink a lot during competitions. But above all, it keeps your body and brain ticking over at optimal capacity and helps you focus better while gaming. 

    A gamer’s typical daily diet: top meal tips

    🥐 Breakfast

    To get a day of training or competition off to a good start, we recommend you first drink a large glass of water, followed by a large glass of fresh orange juice. Get a kickstart with a rush of vitamin C!

    To eat, we suggest finishing off your juice alongside a healthy breakfast of yoghurt and chia seeds, or hard-boiled eggs and avocados on wholemeal bread.

    Another option (and not for the faint of heart) is sardines on toast, to start the day with consistency and fill up on zinc and omega-3. It’s the best way to provide your brain and eyes with all the nutrients gamers need. But not everyone wants potent smelling fish first thing, so we’ll forgive you if you skip this option.

    🍽️ Lunch

    When it’s time for lunch, opt for a balanced meal to avoid post-meal drowsiness.

    If you’re about to head into a competition, always start by drinking a large glass of water before eating. It balances your body and helps facilitate digestion and better helps food absorption.

    Then to eat, microwave yams with a side of oven-baked salmon to help keep you ready and alert for the rest of the day.

    pile of yams excellent for gaming nutrition

    If you can be bothered (and have enough time between matches) you could even add carrots or spinach to your plate to help bolster that necessary vitamin C and E. That way you can go into the second part of your match, and competition feeling fully refreshed and ready.

    You can even snaffle a small dessert. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.

    For a snack, or later, you could crack out an orange to eat in between fight combos or for the fancier gamers, blueberries dipped in Greek yoghurt are also a delicious treat.

    🍿 Snacks

    Speaking of snacks, during long periods of play you might start looking for that little burst of energy. There’s nothing wrong with having a bit, but don’t overeat here or your cravings will take you down as surely as that fighter you just lost to did.

    Try and stick with things that are simple and healthy with low sugar. Eating things like cookies or chocolate usually ends up with a glycemic peak, followed by a sugar crash and fatigue.  

    For a healthy, balanced snack, combine a fruit (for its vitamins) with a cereal product (for its carbohydrates) in order to obtain a stable level of energy that will last all day.

    We recommend a homemade fruit salad or cereal bar with carrot juice. With this combination, you can be up thrashing Riyu until the early hours.

    🍲 Dinner

    In the evening, you will undoubtedly be tired from spending so much time fighting and playing (if you’re not still doing that…). Its always a good idea to take a moment away from any screens to give your eyes a break, relax and clear your head.

    But when you start feeling puckish, it’s a good idea to avoid a big heavy dinner meal. It can affect the quality of your sleep and how you feel the following day. And you want to be ready to get straight back into the chair.

    Try and prepare something healthy and light for dinner, something that can be more easily digested than the complaints that The Last of Us Part II was a bad game. This could be something like a vegetable soup with an egg on the side, or a food full of protein like a portion of quinoa with fish.

    At this time of night, avoid pulses (fruits with seeds), as they can cause nighttime bloating and affect your sleep.

    For dessert, avoid citrus fruits as their high Vitamin C content is something that will better serve you in the morning. At night, it risks keeping you awake. Instead, try a light yoghurt or a calming herbal tea to help prepare you for bed.

    And turn off the computer at a reasonable time!

    Other snacks

    Other snacks you can have are nuts or peanuts. It’s easy to keep a small portion on you and they’re perfect for pauses in gaming sessions.

    Avoid foods that are too sweet because the sugar can impair cognitive function and affect concentration. If you’re allergic to nuts, or just not a fan of them, dried fruit can be a great alternative.

    This will help satiate hunger pangs while continuing to provide a good amount of nutrition for your brain and eyesight.

    What foods should you avoid?

    There are some foods that should be avoided as they are poor sources of nutrition for gamers. However, we can all guarantee we’ve had these a few times, but the more you can cut these from your diet, the better your gaming health will be.

    First, stay away from processed food as much as possible. That means no more midnight trips to McDonalds.

    fast food on table bad for gaming nutrition

    This type of food is harmful to the nutritional balance of the human body thanks to its low to non-existent nutritional value. And although it might be high in energy, like eating too much sugar, you’re sure to crash not long after.

    Junk food, or fast food, can include anything from a packet of chips and a cookie, to an all-out food marathon at In-N-Out Burger. They’re full of additives harmful to your body and the fake sugar can work against your brain and abilities, actually lowering your gaming performance.

    The low nutritional intake will directly impact the strength and level of your abilities because your body doesn’t have all the nutrients and vitamins necessary for its proper functioning.

    We’re not saying you can never eat it again – just that everything needs to be in moderation!

    What are the best drinks for better gaming nutrition?

    Whether it's during training, or in the middle of a major competition, water should always be your go-to drink.

    For gamers, and humans in general, hydration is extremely important. Even if your character doesn’t need to drink water, you do. Mild dehydration can directly affect a gamer’s ability to concentrate and their cognitive, ocular and motor skills. That’s why it's important to drink water continually throughout the day.

    Even gamers immersed in water like Subnautica need to keep hydrating. The average recommended amount of water for a adult human is about eight glasses (200ml each) a day. This is about 1.5 liters of water.

    So while this is a normal amount, in a competition you may find yourself sweating more than your character. That’s when you’ll need to up your water intake to match the energy level being exerted. Keep this in mind and try and drink more during competitions.

    selection of juices good for gaming nutrition

    We’re also not saying you can only drink water. In moderation, fresh juices are also great alternatives, such as carrot juice, orange juice or the popular multivitamin options on offer. They are good sources of vitamins and will help keep you at your physical peak. That being said though, they are high in natural sugars, so don’t go drinking the whole carton!

    We also recommend avoiding soft drinks, sodas and other sugary liquids, like energy drinks and coffee. They won’t bring you any long-term benefit and will instead actually make you thirstier and affect your physiological balance.

    We also don’t recommend drinking alcohol, no matter how badly you lose…

    Gaming nutrition: Final thoughts

    For everyone, gamer or not, things need to be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Variety is the spice of life though, so mix it up with cereals, vegetables, fruits and oily fish; particularly if you plan on being very active that day.

    Stay away from sugary and processed foods and drinks as much as possible (although there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself now and then). Remember, long term they can have a negative impact on your physical and brain function.

    Drink plenty of water, always stay hydrated and prepare your meals ahead of time.

    Save the treats for your downtime or fun matches between friends. Work hard, play harder.