Top 10 Foods for Better Muscle Recovery

Your muscles go through a lot while you work out. Just like you need an energy drink when you get tired, your muscles also need the right foods to recover quickly. Following are some of the foods you should eat post-workout for better muscle recovery.

1. Mānuka honey

Mānuka honey is not the same type of honey you usually have in your kitchen. This is a monofloral honey, meaning it comes from the nectar of a unique plant species called Manuka found in New Zealand. It has a distinctive flavor that is milder than regular honey. Moreover, this honey is thicker than other variants. It has anti-inflammatory properties that suppress exercise-induced inflammation in your body. Mānuka honey is also rich in carbohydrates that delivers protein to your muscles and restores glycogen content in them.

2. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese offers two types of proteins to your tired muscles: casein and whey, allowing them to recover quickly. Whey protein acts actively to replenish your muscles after working out. Casein, on the other hand, reacts slowly. This makes the combination an ideal post-workout snack. These two proteins work in tandem to continue recovering your muscles even as you sleep. Moreover, cottage cheese contains live cultures that break down nutrients efficiently, thus helping your muscles grow bigger and stronger. You can also eat cottage cheese as a midday snack to allow your muscles to relax.

3. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds contain essential Omega-3 fatty acids that slow down muscle inflammation, offer proteins for muscle growth, zinc for immunity, and electrolytes for adequate hydration. Fitness trainers suggest gym-goers to keep seeds and nuts in their bag so that they can eat them as soon as they finish working out. These provide significant protein to your muscles so that they can recover slowly and steadily. It is the ideal snack to munch on, especially after an exhaustive gym session.

4. Tart cherries

Tart cherries can successfully reduce post-run muscle pain and promote muscle recovery. These cherries also have the potential to reduce your post-exercise recovery time. You will feel more energetic after having a glass of tart cherry juice. Tart cherries reduce muscle breakdowns and inflammation in your body. You can eat them raw, grind them and make a glass of juice, or toss them in your oatmeal or salads.

5. Spinach

Spinach is a powerhouse of antioxidants that fights free radicals from your body. It not only improves your muscle recovery but also prevents life-threatening health problems, such as heart diseases and cancer. It also strengthens your muscles and makes them look bigger.

Spinach contains a high quantity of magnesium that allows your muscles to recover quickly and work normally after workout sessions. Magnesium also improves your nerve function, regulates blood pressure and blood sugar, and keeps your heart healthy. Add spinach as your salad base or make a smoothie and drink it after working out.

6. Sweet potatoes

Working out for long hours can result in sore muscles. However, you can say goodbye to those sore muscles by eating sweet potatoes post-workout. Sweet potatoes are rich in glycogen. Exercising your muscles leads to a reduction in glycogen content in your body, thus making you feel weak and tired. Fitness trainers recommend adding sweet potatoes in your post-workout meal to restore your glycogen content. Plus, this starchy vegetable is an incredible source of Vitamin C and beta carotene. These will slowly make your muscles look bigger and stronger.

7. Salmon

Like nuts and seeds, salmon consists of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. A meal containing salmon can improve your immunity, hydration, and muscle growth. Most importantly, it will reduce muscle inflammation and improve your muscle recovery period. Salmon also contains lean protein, one of the essential components that helps to restore and build muscles after working out. Fitness trainers recommend eating foods with protein within 45 minutes after your daily workout sessions for increased recovery and strength.

8. Cacao

Your muscles go through significant levels of stress while you work out. You need to provide adequate food for your muscles so that they can recover quickly. Cacao contains high levels of magnesium, Vitamin B, and antioxidants to reduce your muscles’ stress, boost energy, and balance electrolytes. Flavanols, a specific type of antioxidant found in cacao, can increase the production of nitrous oxide, allowing your blood vessel walls to open and relax slowly and steadily.

Cacao also lowers your blood pressure levels and improves your overall health. You can pop some cacao nibs to your spinach smoothie. Some trainers also advise people to mix cacao powder in a glass of milk and drink it as an energy-booster post-workout.

9. Banana and kiwis

Bananas and kiwis are rich in carbs that replenish your muscles’ glycogen content after working out. Your muscles lose glycogen rapidly while you exercise. Kiwis and bananas can restore glycogen, allowing your muscles to recover quickly. Endurance workout sessions like swimming and running cause significant glycogen loss from your body compared to resistance training. That is why you may need to eat more bananas and kiwis than a bodybuilder.

You have lots of options in terms of eating these two fruits. Make a smoothie, add them to your fruit salad, have them with milk – the choice is yours.

10. Turmeric

Turmeric is rich in curcumin, an inflammation-fighting antioxidant that decreases delayed onset muscle soreness. According to health experts, turmeric contains essential compounds that not only reduce muscle damage but also promotes muscle repair and recovery. It guarantees better athletic performance, meaning you will feel more energetic after working out. Many people experience body pain initially after exercising their muscles. Turmeric can ease that pain and swelling quickly by blocking the adverse effects of chemical pain messengers and pro-inflammatory enzymes. Add turmeric to your milk or in your soup every day to improve your muscle recovery process.

Now that you know so many foods that help in your post-workout muscle recovery, you should make a diet chart that includes all of them. After all, foods also contribute enormously to growing bigger and stronger muscles apart from hours of workout sessions.

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