Achy muscles after strenuous activity or when starting up with a new workout are normal and can also be healthy. This is good muscle soreness, which means a person is pushing the body beyond its limits. There is nothing like an intense sweat-dropping workout. After all, it helps you in burning those extra calories and getting in a good shape.
This muscle soreness can not only be uncomfortable but also affect daily activities.
There are numerous strategies that can help overcome this soreness and minimize the damage to the muscle due to heavy activity. Getting good nutrition is the best way to cope up with the lost strength of the muscles.
8 Best Foods and Drinks That Help in Muscle Recovery
Sardines, salmon, and trout are fatty fishes that are excellent sources of nutrients that can help in muscle recovery.
0.06-0.11 ounces of omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for maximum muscle recovery that can be achieved by having a serving of salmon or taking omega-3 supplements.(5)
Watermelon is a nutrient-loaded, sweet hydrating food fruit, and sipping its juice can be a good way to promote muscle recovery. It also plays a role in keeping the body hydrated.
It is rich in L-citrulline an amino acid. Amino acids are building blocks of protein and have antioxidant effects. They also increase the production of nitric oxide that enhances blood circulation to the muscles and improve cellular energy.(6,7,8) This ways watermelon juice helps in reducing muscle soreness and improve energy.
Watermelon juice contains nutrients that are important to promote exercise performance and recovery.
Pomegranates are rich sources of polyphenol, compounds that contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These can benefit muscle health.
A study was conducted in which a group of weightlifters was given pomegranate juice and another placebo, 3 times a day for 3 days. Additionally, they were given 500 ml of juice and a placebo 1 hour before training sessions. It was found that the pomegranate juice reduced the release of markers of oxidative stress and increased antioxidant defenses. This indicates that the drink promoted muscle recovery.(9)
There are also few other studies that show pomegranate juice may reduce inflammatory markers and accelerate muscle recovery.(10)
Beets contain betalain, a pigment that reduces inflammation and oxidative damage. They also contain dietary nitrates that help in sending oxygen to the muscles and improve the efficiency of mitochondria.(11)
Another study showed drinking beetroot juice improved exercise performance and recovery period in soccer players.(13)
Eggs are always favored by athletes for their high content of protein. They help in stimulating muscle recovery if eaten after a workout.
It is seen that most opt for egg whites, while studies show whole eggs might be much more beneficial.(14) It is because the nutrient-rich yolk of the eggs provides the much-needed nutrients to speed up muscle protein synthesis.
Milk and milk products are high in protein that is required by the body for muscle repair.
Milk and milk products also contain carbs. Protein and carb together promote muscle growth and help the muscle refill stores of glycogen. Milk also contains sodium that is important for rehydration.(15,16)
Studies show drinking cow milk improves exercise performance and recovery of muscle functioning.(17)
After an intense workout, the muscle stores of glycogen are depleted. Glycogen is essential for optimal athletic performance.
Eating food rich in carbs replenishes the glycogen stores.
Foods rich in carbs include sweet potato, butternut squash and potatoes are healthy carbohydrate sources post-workout. Combining them with proteins can be more efficient as it replenishes the glycogen stores as well as helps in muscle recovery.
It was observed in a study that drinking coffee post-workout reduced the delayed onset of muscle soreness.(19)
Apart from foods and drinks, there are a few nondietary sources that can promote muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness after exercising, which include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Compression therapy
- Thermal therapy
- Massage therapy
Working out is essential as it keeps our body active and mind stress-free. To get rid of post-workout sore muscles there are many ways. Adopt any of the many and keep going.