How our bodies respond to inflammation and soreness following strenuous activity like exercise or even working around the yard depends greatly on the foods that we eat. It makes sense that the quality of food in terms of nutrition can play a role in how we feel. If we eat foods that are high in saturated fat and loaded with sugar our bodies can respond negatively following exercise. In contrast, if we eat foods that are low in sugar, high in vital nutrients our bodies can respond positively to exercise and inflammation. These vital nutrients include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytosterols, glyconutrients and phytonutrients. But which foods are rich in nutrients that specifically target muscle recovery? Here is a short list of foods that you can not do with out:
Top 7 Foods For Muscle Recovery
Salmon is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega-3s are a terrific way to fight inflammation and soreness. Studies are showing that Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease inflammation and reduce the activity of enzymes that cause cartilage loss. It is recommended that a healthy diet contain two servings of fish weekly. If you can, buy salmon that is caught wild; salmon that is commercially grown can be very low in Omega-3s.
Nuts also are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein, zinc, potassium, magnesium as well as other vitamins and minerals. A good blend of nuts include brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin.
Cherries are high in Quercitin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that provides cell protection. Cherries are also high in an anti-inflammatory phytochemical called anthocyanin. The University of Vermont at Burlington has new research that is showing that cherries may not only help control inflammation but can help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness and expedite recovery following exercise.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain, which is responsible for digesting protein, reducing inflammation as well as joint pain. An added benefit is that Bromelain also aids in wound healing, angina and muscle soreness.
Ginger is a wonderful food with a long standing reputation for reducing swelling and inflammation. Ginger contains a very potent anti-inflammatory compound called gingerols, which are thought to be the reason why so many people see pain relief from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In a recent double blind, crossover study, those that were given ginger experienced significantly less pain than those than the control group.
Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, a powerful anti- inflammatory. Curcumin also acts as an anti-cancer fighting compound as well as antioxidant, which are important for fighting inflammation, soreness and promoting muscle recovery. A study performed by Clark Lantz, PhD, at the University of Arizona, showed that patients that were given turmeric prior to an arthritis flare-up were able to inhibit and in some cases, completely prevent the attack altogether.
Berries contain polyphenols, antioxidants which protect cells from free radical damage. Antioxidants are responsible for neutralizing free radicals, which can cause inflammation, premature aging and speed up the onset of heart disease and cancer among other diseases. Blueberries are regarded among the best source of antioxidants that you can find but cranberries, raspberries and blackberries all contain high amounts of antioxidants.
Staying active is vitally important to maintain wellness for young and old. If you exercise or perform strenuous activity regularly, these foods should become part of your life!