The 6 best foods to eat for recovery after a heavy workout
Many people put a lot of effort during their workouts in order to meet their workout goals. Although a carefully designed workout plan can help you meet your physique targets, it is important to fuel your body with the correct foods after the workout for optimal recovery. When you are working out, your muscles consume your glycogen stores in order to meet the high energy demands of the workout. This has as a result some of the proteins in your muscles to get broken down and damaged. Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. Let’s examine some foods to eat for recovery after a heavy workout.
- Eggs: Eggs contain a high amount of excellent protein quality which support muscle recovery. Protein consumption supplies the body with amino acids which are essential for repairing and rebuilding muscles. Eggs on average contain 6-7 grams of protein and they contain only 77 calories. It is also recommended to consume whole eggs and not only egg whites. That’s because egg yolk contains important vitamins, minerals and healthy fats which are not present in egg whites.
- Cottage cheese: Cottage cheese is an excellent source of both whey protein (known for its role in replenishing muscles quickly post-workout) and casein protein (a slow-acting protein which allows your muscles to continue recovering even as you sleep). Cottage cheese is also packed with live cultures (good bacteria) that helps break down and absorb nutrients that can help make you bigger and stronger.
- Salmon: Salmon is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc and vitamins. Apart from supplying muscles with proteins, its high omega-3 fatty acid content can reduce inflammation in the body and also to increase muscle protein synthesis. In addition, the potassium found in salmon can help to replace electrolytes that were lost during your workout.
- Sweet potato: Although most people believe that high protein foods can improve muscle recovery, consuming carb-rich foods like sweet potatoes can stimulate the immune system which may drop after a heavy workout. A heavy workout can deplete the glycogen stores of your body and for that reason it is important to replenish glycogen after your workout. In addition, the carbs you eat after training are more likely to be used as energy rather than stored as fat.
- Spinach: Spinach is regarded by many people as a superfood. Thanks to its high content of antioxidants eating spinach can both speed up the recovery time after a workout session and also to eradicate free radicals from the body. Spinach is also rich in magnesium which facilitates the normal function of nerves and muscles and it can also regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. Also spinach contains potassium which in combination with magnesium they act as electrolytes. Finally, spinach is a very healthy meal option as it also contains iron, calcium and vitamin A, vitamin, K1 and vitamin C.
- Green tea: Green tea contains high amounts of catechins, an antioxidant which can both prevent and reduce muscle damage caused by exercise. In addition, green tea contains natural stimulants which can give you an energy boost before your workout.
In conclusion, certain foods can speed up your recovery time and prevent you from injuries caused from heavy workouts and insufficient muscle recovery. In general a post-workout meal with both protein and carbs will enhance glycogen storage and muscle protein synthesis. It is pretty easy to include some foods in your diet for a faster recovery as there many tasty and nutritious options out there.