Muscle Sport Magazine

Eating and Drinking For Recovery (Part 2 of 4)

Water. Hydrating before and during exercise improves performance, keeps electrolytes balanced, and reduces the risk of cramping and headaches. But the sipping shouldn’t stop when your workout ends. Continue to savor H2O throughout the day to keep ligaments and cartilage soft and hydrated, improve mood, and ensure nutrients are transported throughout your body.  Sip, don’t gulp, water and reduce your consumption of beverages that work as diuretics, such as coffee, tea, and alcohol, to ensure adequate hydration.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids. A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine showed that taking around 2 grams of fish oil per day reduces muscle soreness after up to 48 hours after exercise, decreases muscle swelling, and increases joint range of motion[ii].  Omega-3 can be found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna, nuts, and spinach. Eating these foods along with taking a single dose of fish oil per day will not only help you recovery, but also provide other great health benefits.

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Protein and carbohydrate combo. Nutrition plays a big role in post-exercise recovery. Consuming a small meal of protein with a bit of carbs helps to replenish nutrient stores and reduce muscle soreness[iii].  A good guideline is to consume a few grams of protein along with ½ cup of carbs post exercise to aid in recovery. This can be cottage cheese with fresh fruit, chicken breast with rice, or even a recovery shake with whey protein and oatmeal.


Tart cherries. Tart cherries are rich in anthocyanins, an antioxidant that protects cells from going rogue. These compounds also reduce muscle swelling and help muscles recover faster from fatigue. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that endurance athletes who consumed tart cherry juice for 7 days prior to their event experienced far less pain increase post race than the placebo group[iv]. Though a standard hasn’t been established for cherry consumption, we recommend a handful of tart cherries, a small glass of cherry juice, or a single serving of tart cherry supplements a day.



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