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Foods to Speed Up Muscle Recovery

October 3, 2018 by

Having sore muscles can be really discouraging for people who are trying to get into a new exercise routine. Having delayed onset muscle soreness is very common for people who have recently increased the intensity of their exercise, but you can also experience this muscle soreness if you are used to exercising on a regular basis.

Knowing the foods that can help heal your sore muscles may help you stay motivated to stick with your exercise routine. You can eat specific foods that are known to help muscles recover and grow. Here, we will go over 12 of the most effective foods to heal muscle soreness.

Causes of Sore Muscles After Exercise

If you are used to exercising, you probably already know that working out leads to microtears in your muscles that can make you feel sore. While these small tears are uncomfortable a day after your workout, they do lead to a gain in strength and muscle mass when your muscles rebuild themselves.

Some forms of exercise that commonly lead to soreness are running, squats, pushups, and weight lifting. After doing these exercises, you may experience soreness when doing everyday activities like taking a shower or putting on your shoes.
The good news is, you can treat muscle soreness at home and it is nothing to be concerned about. Here are 12 foods to help ease your discomfort.

12 Foods to Relieve Muscle Soreness

1. Cacao

Cacao has a lot of antioxidants and magnesium, which both help reduce stress and inflammation in the body. The antioxidants in cacao, called flavonoids, help boost your body?s production of nitrous oxide, which helps your blood vessels relax and your circulation to increase to your muscles.

2. Coffee

The caffeine in coffee can reduce soreness after physical activity. Studies have shown that caffeine can work with pain relievers in a synergistic way to boost both of their effectiveness.

3. Eggs

Eggs contain a lot of protein, which helps rebuild muscles. While you may be tempted to get a boost of protein after working out from a protein powder or a bar, getting your protein from natural, whole food sources are more beneficial for recovery. Your body is able to process these natural proteins better than artificially made proteins, which will help you in your muscle recovery.

4. Ginger and Cinnamon

Both ginger and cinnamon are very effective in decreasing inflammation in the body. If you feel sore, add some ginger or cinnamon to your meals or your morning coffee to help your body regain its strength.

5. Green Tea

Green tea is full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants that make it a perfect thing to drink after working out if you want to recover your cells and reduce oxidative stress. Green tea helps reduce muscle damage, which can in turn decrease your level of soreness.

6. Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is a well-known anti-inflammatory agent. This type of honey is thicker than normal honey and it has a very distinctive, floral flavor. This type of honey reduces inflammation in the muscles and is rich in carbs, which the body needs to replenish glycogen that has been lost during exercise and deliver protein to your sore muscles.

7. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for fighting inflammation. Nuts and seeds also give your body the protein it needs to go through muscle synthesis and repair the microtears that have occurred during exercise.

Nuts and seeds can also help replenish glycogen stores after a workout. This helps restore levels of glucose in your blood. The most effective method for doing this is eating a 4-to-1 carb-to-protein snack, which will give your body the fuel it needs to return glycogen to your muscles.

8. Wild Salmon

Wild salmon is a rich source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and healthy protein. Some studies show that consuming omega-3s in particular can help prevent muscle soreness.

Salmon is also rich in lean protein, which is a key component for muscle recovery and building. It is best to eat your protein soon after your workout in order for it to benefit you the most.

9. Spinach

Spinach is an antioxidant powerhouse that fights free radical damage. Spinach can protect you from illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, but can also help you recover after a tough workout because of its nitrate content. Spinach also has magnesium, which is great for muscle and nerve function.

10. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a starchy, carb-rich vegetable, so eating them after intense exercise is an effective way to replenish lost glycogen. Sweet potatoes also have a low glycemic index so they release sugars into the blood slowly and help you maintain energy. The beta carotene and vitamin C are antioxidants that further reduce oxidative stress.

11. Tart Cherries

Tart cherries can improve recovery and reduce pain and inflammation. Tart cherries can also help relieve pain from arthritis. The same antioxidants that help relieve this pain are also believed to reduce one’s risk of heart disease and diabetes.

12. Turmeric

Turmeric contains a powerful antioxidant called curcumin, which can reduce pain that is related to muscle soreness. It can also lower your risk of injury when exercising and improve muscle recovery.

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