Welcome to Strategic Diets, a deep dive into specific nutritional needs for your desired outcome—from fitness goals to personal aspirations.
Post-workout pain can be fiercely discouraging. When we’re couch-bound due to aching muscles, our motivation quickly dwindles into Netflix-watching and pizza binges. One break day turns into two. Two turns into three. And before we know it, we’re way behind on our training and gym schedules.
Luckily, we can feed our muscles just what they need to recover and perform, again and again. There are certain foods that are great to eat pre-workout for sustained energy and maximum performance. But when it comes to reducing exercise-induced soreness, making sure to include specific inflammatory-fighting foods like eggs, coffee, sour cherries and spices is key. Incorporate these yummy ingredients in your pre- and post-workout meals to help keep your body primed to train, train, train.
These six dishes are packed with anti-inflammatory power to soothe those sore muscles and keep you workout ready:
Unsure what to make for your pre-workout meal? Why not enjoy this gingery spin-off of your favorite Chinese dish. A study in the Journal of Pain found that a daily kick of ginger reduced exercise-induced pain by 25 percent in study participants.
These bite-size morsels are super easy to make, eat, and become addicted to. Blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants—an anti-inflammatory that wards off soreness even after the most challenging of workouts. Bring on the squats.
Take slow sips of this caffeine-buzzed smoothie after hitting the gym. According to a study published in The Journal of Pain, two cups of brewed coffee consumed after exercise led to a reduction in pain resulting from exercise-induced soreness. Yup, your post-sweat cup of coffee is actually helping your body.
This colorful bowl is not just beautiful to look at; it’s also packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce muscle inflammation after tough workouts. A study published in PLOS One found that the anti-inflammatory amino acids arginine, glycine, and taurine in cod protein held support the inflammatory response during recovery following skeletal muscle injury. Your body will thank you for this—and so will your tastebuds.
There’s nothing quite like a rainbow macaroon to bring a tasty turn to your daily routine. Bonus: these treats are also just what you need before a rigorous workout. Açai berries act as natural NSAIDs (non-nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin). A savored, macaroon moment before you hit the gym could help diminish exercise-induced muscle damage.
Eggs are not only high in leucine, an amino acid that aids in building muscle, they also contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Top your salad with this creamy goodness, or spread it on top of a rice cake for the perfect post-workout out bite.
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