Working out is great for both mind and body, but it can also take a toll on your muscles. When you work out, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel and some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down. After you finish a workout, your body goes into overdrive and tries to rebuild your glycogen stores and regrow the muscle proteins that have been broken down, but eating the right nutrients after you workout can help with this process.
Carbohydrates help your body with recovery. They help to restore the glycogen stores that get depleted and the rate at which your glycogen stores get used up is dependant on the type of exercise you are doing. Endurance type exercise, such as long-distance running or swimming tends to use more glycogen stores, so people who participate in these types of sports will need to consume more carbs for recovery.
Protein helps to repair and build muscle, so eating the right amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild the proteins that have been broken down, helping your body to build new muscle tissue.
To get the most benefit from your post-workout meal, it is recommended to eat within 45 minutes after a workout and don’t forget to hydrate with lots of H2o!
We have listed a few foods that have multiple nutrients and benefits, helping your body to recover from a workout.
Cottage cheese is actually a great snack to have both before and after a workout as it contains whey protein, which is known for helping to replenish muscles after a workout. Cottage cheese also has casein protein which is a slow-acting protein, helping your muscles to recover long after your workout, even while you are sleeping.
Kumara is a superfood. It contains complex carbohydrates that are great for helping your muscles recover faster. Kumara also contains important nutrients such as potassium and vitamin A.
Not only does watermelon contain around 92% water, which is great for hydration after a workout, it also contains vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C – which can help to reduce muscle inflammation.
Eggs are rich in protein, which is what your muscles need to help them recover. Eating protein-rich foods after your workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue.
Salmon is a fantastic food with so many nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids – which can help to reduce inflammation in the body, protein, vitamin B and potassium – this can help to replace electrolytes you may have lost.
Bananas are a great source of energy for those who want to work out as they are rich in carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium and fibre. It is said that eating bananas before and after a workout can help to reduce muscle cramping due to their high potassium content.
When you work out, you sweat a lot, dehydrating your body and when this happens the number of electrolytes in your body decreases too. Eating spinach can help to combat this as spinach is high in potassium and magnesium – which are key electrolytes. Spinach also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K1, iron and calcium.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pecans and hazelnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to improve joint and bone health and have anti-inflammatory properties.
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