Whether you’re a gym junkie or an endurance athlete, you can count on feeling mild to moderate post-workout muscle soreness after intense training sessions. While that soreness might make you feel a sense of accomplishment after putting your body to the test, it can sometimes end up interfering with your day-to-day activities. Although there is a vast array of products on the market designed to boost recovery and help your damaged muscles heal, natural foods are often preferable to the health-conscious crowd. If that sounds like you, take a peek at these post-workout foods that can help get you out of pain and back on your grind.
This humble stone fruit has gained enormous popularity in recent years among weekend warriors, regular gym enthusiasts, and elite athletes alike. Tart cherries in particular contain high levels of polyphenols that are known to reduce exercise-induced oxidative damage following intense training sessions. Oxidative damage is caused by microscopic tears in your muscle tissue after intense exercise. It leads to heightened muscular inflammation. Researchers have found that the group of plant-derived compounds collectively known as polyphenols works to mitigate this inflammatory response, thereby reducing pain and soreness following intense training.
Both sweet cherries and tart cherries offer up numerous health-promoting benefits due to their strikingly similar nutritional profiles; however, tart cherries appear to contain higher levels of anthocyanins which are known for their powerful anti-inflammatory effects. To see the most benefit from your post-workout cherry consumption, experts recommend taking in a minimum of one ounce of tart cherry juice or cherry juice concentrate immediately after your workout. Consider twice-daily supplementation for increased antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Ginger has long been hailed as a health-promoting superfood. Ancient cultures revered this root for its ability to combat inflammation, boost immunity, detoxify the body, and promote good circulation.
Consuming ginger is effective at relieving exercise-induced muscle pain after a workout. It promotes muscle relaxation and reduces inflammation via a compound known as gingerol. A close relative of piperine and capsaicin, gingerol gives the root its spicy, pungent bite. According to numerous controlled, double-blind studies, post-training consumption of this food can help reduce muscle soreness by up to 25%.
Experts recommend supplementing with either ginger capsules or an addition of the cooked root to your post-workout meal. Preliminary research has demonstrated that cooking your post-workout dose may increase its pain-reducing effect.
There you have it. If you’re looking to move away from processed, packaged post-workout recovery supplements, nature has a plethora of options from which you can choose. After your next workout, give these superfoods a go. You might just be amazed at how much better your body feels!
Looking for more post-workout nutrition advice? We can create a custom meal plan for you!