If you’re a healthy person who exercises regularly, you probably don’t need special workout nutrition strategies but there are some specific foods that you may consider adding to your diet to help push your performance to the next level and aid in your recovery.
Tart cherries may reduce pain from exercise. The International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2010, reported on a study of 54 healthy runners that ran an average of 26.3 kilometers, or 16.3 miles, over a 24-hour period. Some of the runners were instructed to drink bottles of tart cherry juice twice daily for seven days prior and on the day of the run. Others were given a placebo drink. The runners were asked to assess the level of pain they felt before and after the run. The researchers found that the runners who drank the cherry juice reported a significantly smaller increase in pain after the run compared with the placebo group.
If you’re looking to shave some time off your run, look to beets. In a small study of 9 healthy men who were given beet juice or placebo, those consuming beet juice had a 16% improvement in endurance, and were able to decrease their oxygen consumption by 3%, meaning that it took them less energy to cycle at the same pace.
Consuming beets 30 minutes pre-workout is a great way to improve your endurance and naturally support your body from inflammation and oxidative stress. And if the thought of cooking and eat beets before your workout is a bit much for you, look for a supplement like activfuel+ by Genuine Health or AOR’s Cardio NOx.
Before a long run or bike ride, have some watermelon: The juicy fruit may ward off muscle pains. Researchers report that people who drank watermelon juice before exercising felt less sore the next day than those who drank a pink placebo.
Watermelon is one of the few natural foods with an abundance of L-citrulline, an amino acid that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention but scientist are now recognizing that its antioxidant properties may enhance athletic performance. L-citruline is showing promise in flushing out lactic acid from muscles, allowing for more intense training and faster recovery.
Recipe: Watermelon Electrolyte Beverage
Manuka Honey is a potent anti-inflammatory that helps to suppress exercise-induced inflammation in the body. It is also rich in carbohydrates, which are needed to refill glycogen stores and deliver protein to your muscles.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds provide essential Omega-3 fatty acids to fight inflammation, protein for muscle repair and growth, electrolytes, and zinc to boost immunity.
Turmeric is full of the inflammation-fighting antioxidant curcumin, which has been shown to decrease delayed onset muscle soreness.. Curcumin also eases pain and swelling by blocking the effects of pro-inflammatory enzymes and chemical pain messengers. Natural Factors Curcumin Rich Theracurmin is a customer favorite as is Vega’s Sport Recovery Accelerator.