You take the time to go to the gym and get your sweat on. You are motivated and have persevered; why not maximize your effort by supplying your body what it needs to repair and get your system back to normal. After any sort of work out where you are working up a sweat your body goes through a recovery process some of which includes:
- Replenishing the muscle and liver glycogen stores
- Consuming protein to assist with muscle repair
- Restoring fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
- Supporting the immune system to handle the damage
Below are a list of the top foods to help you maximize your efforts. Besides being nutritious, hydrating and important for recuperation they are also whole foods and yummy at that. Here are the top ten foods for recovery.
Add blueberries to your post work out shake. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants – helping prevent free radical damage to your muscles from a workout. It was also reported by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that muscle recovery was expedited after ingestion of a blueberry shake pre- and post-workout.
Plain old water keeps us hydrated and going during strenuous workouts. If the body isn’t properly hydrated pre- and intra-workout, cramps, fatigue, and dizziness can hit hard, ultimately prolonging the recovery time. It’s recommend to drink 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes, and if you're one to work up a serious sweat, you should be drinking more.
Potassium rich foods like spinach
Potassium can easily be lost through excessive sweating and dehydration causing muscle cramping. Potassium can be easily found in protein-rich foods and leafy greens; consumption of these foods should be seen as a preventative measure for muscle cramps thereby making recovery all the better.
Protein – eggs, chicken, tuna
Water and micronutrients have a role in the recovery process, but protein takes the lead. You should consume protein post-workout, either in the form of a shake or a meal. Protein helps in the repair of workout-induced damage to muscle fibers and refuels energy stores.
Foods containing Omega 3’s such as avocado
Avocado is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are an essential component of several anti-inflammatory processes in the body. In addition to healthy fats, which are crucial for absorbing vitamins A and E, it contains a suite of B vitamins that help your body metabolize all those healthy carbohydrates and proteins too.
When you work out the body breaks down muscle glycogen—your energy reserves—so you'll need wholesome, plant-based carbohydrates afterward if you're going to be in shape for the next time you hit the gym. Sweet potatoes are a superfood, complete with three days' worth of vitamin A and 26 grams of carbohydrates to restore your glycogen supply so you can work out again sooner.
More than just a caffeinated pick-me-up, green tea contains powerful antioxidants that help metabolize fat and fight exercise-induced free radicals that would otherwise cause inflammation and muscle soreness. Green tea is good for you well beyond the gym as the particular antioxidants found in the tea have been shown to help treat a number of chronic inflammatory conditions, from cancer to Alzheimer's and heart disease.
Ever cramp after, or during, a tough workout? That’s because your body doesn’t have enough electrolytes like potassium, sodium, and calcium. Coconut water is abundant in these nutrients and is a great addition to a post work out smoothie or drink.
Turmeric and Ginger
Turmeric and ginger has been used for centuries as painkillers in eastern medicine. Curcumin, the active ingredient in both roots has been shown to suppress the inflammatory response in humans. Also a great addition to any post work out regime.
For your dose of carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores, brown rice is fine, but it can’t compete with all the vitamins and nutrients found in quinoa. It also contains far more protein and fiber than brown rice, and requires less time to prepare.