When it comes to workout, a lot of people take the saying "no pain, no gain" a bit too literally. A bit of soreness within 48 hours after an intense workout is to be expected. But sometimes there comes a point when the pain can be too much. You can hardly move because of the pain and stiffness caused by low-grade inflammation. The result of muscle fibers being broken down during your workout.
Thankfully, there are a few foods that will come to your rescue! They cannot only help to reduce inflammation, but they can aid in post-workout recovery and prevent sore muscles.
Foods that can recover your sore muscles
Whey Protein - Whey protein is the ultimate sore muscle recovery food! It provides your body with the amino acids needed to repair your muscles after an intense workout, and thereby drastically reduces the soreness. After all, if all of the minor damage done by your workout is repaired, there's no reason you will feel sore. Having a protein shake after your workout can do wonders to keep the soreness away.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid - Salmon, tuna, sardines, and fish oil all contain the amazing nutrient that is Omega-3. This nutrient has potent anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce the swelling caused by muscle damage. Not only that, but the fats can prevent muscle breakdown and encourage better circulation, enabling your body to send the repairing nutrients to your muscles faster.
Tart Cherries - Tart cherries have been scientifically proven to prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), one of the most common types of post-workout soreness. They do so by encouraging the efficient elimination of the lactic acid and other waste products produced in your muscles during your workout. They can also help you recuperate your strength more quickly and will give you a better night of sleep so your body can make the vital repairs (most of which happen overnight).
Avocadoes - Avocadoes are an amazing source of potassium, one of the two electrolytes that play a role in your muscular water balance. Avocadoes help to encourage more efficient muscle contractions. They can also regulate water in your muscles to encourage faster recovery. The fat in avocadoes also helps your body absorb more fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and the B vitamins. All of these vitamins lead to better overall body function, including improved circulation and nutrition to your muscles.
High-Glycemic Fruits and Starches - This may go contrary to a lot of the weight loss advice you've read, but the truth is that sugary fruits and high-glycemic starches like rice, noodles, and potatoes are wonderful for reducing soreness. They provide your body with a rush of glycogen, which is needed to replenish the energy burned up by your muscles during your workout. They can also aid in tissue recovery and repair, increase insulin (which reduces muscular inflammation), and can help to prevent the chemical byproducts of your workout from causing soreness.
Berries - Cherries aren't the only berries that work wonders for your muscles; raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and any other rich-colored berries can also do the trick. These berries are rich in antioxidants, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce inflammation in your body. They will help to combat the low-grade swelling caused by the breakdown of muscle tissue. By preventing swelling, the antioxidants help your body to make the muscle repairs more quickly!
Bananas - Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium. One of the two electrolytes (the other being sodium) that control your muscular water balance. During an intense workout, your body often burns through its potassium stores. Potassium plays a role in muscle contraction. So depleting the potassium reserves in your body can interfere with proper contraction (ergo, a less effective workout). By eating a banana after your workout, you replenish eliminated potassium. And it can keep your water balance steady, leading to more efficient muscle repairs.
Water - This may sound insane, but water is one of the most important sore muscle recovery foods! Your body is composed of close to 70% water. What happens when that water is depleted (via your sweat during an intense workout)? It stops working properly! Even minor dehydration can lead to reduced body function and impaired muscular repair. Replenishing lost fluids after a workout can go a long way toward preventing muscle soreness.
Nuts - Nuts are a curious food to add to this list. They are rich in dietary fiber and fats, but it's the fats that actually benefit you. The unsaturated fats in nuts protect your body and reduce oxidative stress during your intense workouts. Reducing oxidative stress, the fats in nuts reduce the amount of damage done to your body during training. This means there is less recovery time needed. And there is less risk of muscle soreness. Nuts can help you heal and get back in training shape more quickly!
Eggs - Eggs are the best natural source of protein on the planet! They contain all the essential amino acids required for protein synthesis, which means they'll help your body repair the muscle damaged caused by your workout. They also boost your metabolism and help to increase energy production. The antioxidants in eggs will reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, enabling your body to make faster repairs. Having a few eggs after your workout will do wonders to help reduce muscle soreness.
Turmeric - Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory food, meaning it will combat the low-grade swelling caused by the breakdown of muscle tissue. It's also a pain-killer that can reduce the discomfort of swollen and sore muscles. Best of all, it will speed up recovery times.
Add these foods to your diet after an intense workout, and your risk of muscle soreness will drastically decrease!