There’s nothing better than the feeling you get after an energizing, intense workout. Whether you’re the type of person who sprints on the treadmill or you prefer to hit the yoga mat, the rush you get when you’re filled with endorphins is what you crave. But, the least desired part about working out is inevitable, that post-fitness soreness.
No matter what your workout choice is, when you put stress on your muscles, you are creating microscopic tears in them. This is completely normal and what you should aim to do! These tears will make you sore but will ultimately help make you stronger by increasing muscle mass as your muscles recover.
While you can recover from muscle soreness with massage or bath soaks, there are many foods you can consume to help with your recovery.
- Tart cherry juice: This juice is full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory compounds. Try drinking it straight or adding it to a post-workout smoothie.
- Whole eggs: Even though they contained the same amounts of protein, the muscle-building response from whole eggs was about 40 percent greater compared to egg whites alone. The nutrients in yolk, which include healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals like phosphorus and iron, let your worn muscles use the excellent protein in the whites more effectively.
- Dairy Products: As little as 9 grams of dairy may be enough to kick-start the muscle-building process. When the mTOR protein in our muscles is activated (which is an important for protein synthesis stimulation), it is highly sensitive to the amino acids found in dairy. Eating products like ricotta cheese is beneficial because ricotta is a good source of whey protein. Pairing whey protein with carbs can also help strengthen your bones, too. Cottage cheese is another great option.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in certain fish, like salmon, sardines and mackerel, may help transform delay onset muscle soreness after resistance exercise. These omega-3s seem to work their way into muscle cells, where they help decrease the exercise-induced damage that produces painful inflammation.
- Sweet potatoes: When it comes recovering post-workout, carbs are the best option. Foods rich in carbs, like potatoes, grains, and fruit, can help reduce the drop in your immune system which tends to happen after intense exercise. And don’t worry, the carbs you eat after working out will be used as energy than stored as fat.
- Yerba Mate Tea: Yerba Mate contains some naturally occurring stimulants, so drinking it before you work out may help boost your energy as well.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a mighty little grain and a great addition to any diet. It is especially helpful for those following a gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian diet. Increasing your protein and fiber intake (which quinoa has both), is going to help replenish your muscles.