Muscle soreness is one of the inevitable consequences of a hard workout. Like fatigue, pain is just part of the game. That being said, there are a number of things that you can do to reduce the problem.
We all know that stretching is a good way to help alleviate post-workout soreness, but many people don’t realize that diet can help too. Here are five foods that will help you to lessen the effects of post-workout soreness.
1. Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are some of nature’s best sources of protein. They offer a lot of nutritional value in a small and long-lasting package. Nuts contain lots of protein and lots of healthy fats. They also provide a vast array of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
Best of all, nuts and seeds tend to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have quite a few proven health benefits, including the ability to fight inflammation. The only thing you need to watch out for when using nuts in your diet is their high levels of fat. When mixed with sugary substances, nuts can contribute to a weight problem. If you buy mixed nuts that have been cooked in oil, their fat content will be significantly higher than that of raw nuts. Therefore, you should stick to raw nuts or those that have been roasted without oil.
Spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables out there, and it’s pretty easy to grow spinach in your garden if you are so inclined. This is another food that is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and that’s what we want. The health benefits of eating spinach are so numerous that it would be outside the scope of this article to cover them all, so let’s concentrate on those antioxidants.
Antioxidants play a key role in the regulation of inflammation. To put it simply, they help to close down the pathways by which an inflammation spreads. This can mean the difference between a little bit of soreness and entire-limb soreness.
For centuries, people have known that fish is good for you. This is yet another old belief based on experience that has been confirmed with hard science. Like nuts and seeds, fish meat is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, research seems to indicate that fish are a better source of omega-3’s than any nut.
This anti-inflammatory action will encourage your body to heal itself more quickly. It helps your body to resist the crippling effects of soreness and cramping that threaten to keep you in your chair for days. However, not all fish are equal in this regard. Take a look at this list to get a good idea of which fish are considered to be the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
As you can see from that list, and also from this one, salmon has the highest level of omega-3’s. Herring and mackerel are also in the top category. Catfish, tilapia, and cod are three examples of fish that don’t have enough omega-3’s to be useful for this purpose.
4. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes, apart from being very tasty, offer several different anti-inflammatory components. These vegetables are high in both vitamin C and vitamin E. Both are antioxidants, and we have already shown that antioxidants help to reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. Apart from this, sweet potatoes also contain high levels of alpha and beta carotene, which are also antioxidants.
Sweet potatoes are also good for replenishing your energy after a tough workout. There are high levels of carbohydrate in this vegetable. These allow your body to replenish the glycogen that was used during your workout. Bear in mind that not all sweet potatoes have the same nutritional profile. Growing conditions can affect the nutrient content of this vegetable, as shown here.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is the only drink item on our list, but it does qualify as a food due to its nutrient profile. However, we are concerned with its’ anti-inflammatory properties. A lot of research has been done regarding the health benefits of green tea, and it has been confirmed that drinking tea does reduce inflammation. The study also proved that green tea was more active than black tea.
To better understand how the natural antioxidants in green tea will affect inflammation, we need to understand a little bit about oxidative stress. Just as oxidation causes the corrosion and breakdown of metals, so too does it cause the gradual breakdown of the body’s essential systems. This breakdown happens through the actions of substances called “free radicals.”
Free radicals basiclly steal electrons from other molecules, creating a deficiency. In many ways, free radicals are destroyers whose primary purpose is to fight infection. When that infection is not present, they will attack healthy cells. In order to prevent this, your body needs antioxidants, which neutralize the free radicals and prevent them from doing any further harm. As green tea is very high in various antioxidants, it makes perfect sense that this beverage has often been associated with a longer lifespan.
As you can see, most of these foods contain high levels of antioxidants and/or omega fatty acids. Although post-workout soreness cannot be avoided entirely, there is no reason that you should allow this problem to go unchecked. Pain is one of the things that can directly affect your motivation and keep you from working out, so don’t underestimate the mental factor.
If you are trying to get in shape, you should be eating a healthy diet anyway; otherwise, there isn’t much point to your efforts. Since all of the foods listed here are both healthy and nutritious, at least a couple of them should be incorporated into your diet. We hope that this article has been helpful, and we invite you to follow us on Facebook for more content like this.