When it comes to exercise, we often focus on the pain and sweat. But as anyone who has ever had a muscle strain or pulled something during a workout knows, the recovery process is just as important as the actual activity you put your body through.
Several factors contribute to how quickly and fully you recover from working out. Nutrition plays a major role. Good nutrition can aid in quicker muscle recovery after exercise. Incorporating these foods for recovery into your daily diet will help get you back to training sooner.
Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, and minerals and are loaded with antioxidants. These legumes also contain saponins, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and speed up muscle recovery. If you have achy or fatigued muscles, try incorporating beans with rice or quinoa into your meals.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens like broccoli, spinach, and arugula are nutrient powerhouses foods for recovery. They contain isothiocyanates, which have been shown to reduce post-exercise muscle damage and improve muscle healing. Arugula is particularly high in glutamine, an amino acid used by your body during exercise, and has been shown to decrease post-exercise muscle soreness.
Working out increases protein breakdown in your body, which is why you need to eat more protein after working out. Leucine, an amino acid found in eggs, milk, nuts, and seeds, is effective at increasing muscle protein synthesis and reducing muscle protein breakdown after a hard workout. Your best bet is to consume a balanced protein meal within two hours of finishing a workout. Whey protein is also a good option, as studies show it is as effective at increasing muscle protein synthesis as whole milk.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great snacks after a workout. They are high in protein, unsaturated fats, and minerals and contain flavonoids and antioxidants that can reduce oxidative stress and promote muscle recovery. Nuts with a high protein content include almonds, peanuts, cashews, and walnuts. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds are also great choices.
Whole grains are high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, and other minerals that can help with muscle recovery. They are also an excellent source of fiber, which is important for muscle health. Most whole grains are gluten-free, making them an excellent choice for people sensitive to gluten.
Eat Well and Recover Faster
When you exercise, you break down your muscles. Your body then works hard to repair and rebuild those muscles so that you can use them again the next time you exercise. A good diet can help speed this process, and the best foods for recovery are those high in protein, minerals, and vitamins. You should also drink plenty of water during your recovery because dehydration can make muscle recovery take longer.
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