This post may contain affiliate links. Please read the disclosure for more information.
Exercise is good for your health, both your mental and physical health. However, everytime I really get into it, my muscles get sore. And that only gets worse after one or two days. First, I’ll just go through with my schedule and hope for the best. However, after a while, I skip one class. And then one run. And before I know it, my entire schedule seems to be thrown out of the window. So I thought about what I could do about that. As it turns out, there are certain foods you can eat to cure sore muscles and to speed up your recovery!
If you feed your body the right way, it will support you in anything. But what is the right way? There are certain foods that improve your mental health, but there are also certain foods to eat when it comes to improving your physical health. Specifically, foods that help you recover faster, so that you won’t have to skip your work-outs due to sore muscles.
Here, you can find a list of 10 foods you should really stock in your fridge and pantry. They’ll help you recover faster and make sure that you’ll feel energized before AND after every work-out!
10 Foods That Help You Recover Faster
1. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are filled with Omega-3 fatty acids. These are very useful in fighting inflammation. They also contian protein that helps with muscle synthesis and growth, electrolytes for hydratation, and zinc for immunity. And they’re also great for vegans and vegetarians!
Spices in general can be very powerful, but that especially applies to turmeric. It has great anti-inflammatory properties and it helps preventing and reducing sore muscles. I like to add this to some hot water with lemon juice, but you can also create a ‘tumeric latte’ by combining 2 cups of heated mulk with a teaspoon of ginger and a teaspoon of turmeric.
Like nuts and seeds, salmon also contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. On top of that, it is filled with lean protein, which helps restoring and building muscles. Experts advise to eat protein-packed foods like salmon within 45 minutes after your workout. That will aid in a speedy recovery.
4. Manuka honey
Manuka honey is not just any type of honey. It’s a kind of honey that’s made from the nectar of the Manuka bush in New Zealand. It’s much thicker than regular honey and has a mild, yet distinctive flavour. Since Manuka honey is a potent anti-flammatory, it helps to suppress inflammation in the body. Including sore muscles. You can add this to your tea, or put some on your yoghurt.
5. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes aren’t really potatoes, they are vegetables. And very good ones as well! Sweet potatoes replenish glycogen stores, which are usually depleted after heavy workouts. They also contain a lot of beta carotene and vitamin C. You can bake or grill them, or cook them with olive oil and spices. Sweet potatoes taste very good with salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, chili powder, and even cinnamon!
Popeye was on to something here! Spinach is a real type of superfood. It is filled with antioxidants and prevents serieous diseases such as heart disease and cancer. However, it also helps you recover very fast from intensive exercise. Spinach also contains a lot of magnesium, which helps maintain a normal muscle and nerve function and it helps regulating blood sugar. You can eat it in salads, add it to dinner or create a nice lunch by adding some of it to your omelette.
7. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese gives you whey and casein, which are two types of protein. Whey replenishes the muscles post-workout, while casein helps your muscles to recover, even while you sleep. You can eat this plain (with a pinch of pepper, for example) or topped with fruit. I’m not particularly fond of cottage cheese, but if I really feel that my body needs that little extra, I’ll make sure to get it.
8. Green tea
If you’re not feeling very hungry, you can also help your body recover by drinking green tea. Green tea also contains a lot of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, which makes it perfect as a pre- and post-workout drink. It also helps you stay hydrated. You can drink it both hot and cold. Please note: ‘green tea’ is not the same as a green tea soda!
9. Cacao (not chocolate)
Cacao is rich in antioxidants, magnesium, and vitamin B. All these ingredients help reduce stress, balance electrolytes, and boost energy levels. In short; if you eat this before or after your workout, you’ll perform better and recover faster. You can add some cacao nibbs to your smoothie or use them to make a cup of hot chocolate. If you really want to eat a bar of chocolate, go with a very dark one, with at least 80% of cacao. They are a bit bitter, but you will get used to that. Plus: you won’t eat a whole bar at once. So that helps with maintaining your weight as well.
Blueberries are also really go-to foods when it comes to reducing muscle soreness. They reduce DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness. This is the pain and stiffness that you feel a few hours or a day after exercising. That is usually the type of soreness that makes you skip a workout. Blueberries will reduce this pain. You can eat them as a snack, but you can also add them to a smoothie or even a salad.
What are your go-to pre- and post-workout foods?