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18 Muscle Recovery Foods to Snack On After Your Next Workout

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By Lena Hemsworth

Intense workouts can leave you with some severe muscle pain and inflammation. That is why eating the right snacks and food after working out can be very important. These 18 foods are some of the best things you can consume after exercising to help your muscles recover and heal. 


Taro root


Taro root is one of your best friends after an intense workout routine. Think of it as sweet potato’s purple cousin. Eating taro root right after working out can have so many benefits for your body. Firstly, taro root is a great source of fibre and carbohydrates. It works wonders for muscle recovery and if paired with any protein of your choice it can be an ideal post-workout meal. The purpose of these kinds of meals is to provide raw materials that will help your body heal and recover after doing exercise. That is what ultimately ends up making you even stronger and fit. In a way, it even prepares your body for the next day and another workout routine.

Spinach


Among many cruciferous vegetables, one that can truly help your body and muscles recover faster after an intense workout is a spinach. It is a great source of Vitamins B, C, and A. Other than that, it also contains protein which is what your body needs after you finish working out. It is one of the most popular superfoods among workout junkies. 

Spinach is an antioxidant powerhouse that fights free radicals in your body. This is how they prevent serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease. It is also great for muscle recovery. Spinach is an excellent diet staple because it promotes good health and strengthens your muscles. Besides being full of vitamins, spinach also contains a lot of magnesium that helps your body maintain normal muscle and nerve function. Magnesium is also great for regulating blood sugar and blood pressure. You can always make it as a main meal or add it to your salads, or even make a smoothie with it. 

Eggs

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Protein has been proven to be very effective for muscle repairing. That is why eating eggs after an intense workout can be very beneficial for your body. They can help rebuild damaged muscle fibers. This way they are allowing muscles to grow stronger and get ready for another workout. They are a great source of protein which can really help your body recover faster. But other than protein, the yolks of eggs also contain healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins that support muscle growth as well.


Blueberries or raspberries


Generally speaking, fruits are a great source of antioxidants that help your body and muscles recover. However, blueberries, in particular, are one of the best fruits you can choose to eat after working out. Raspberries are also a great option. Both of these berries contain high amounts of carbohydrates and sirtuins, which modulate several cellulars and organismal functions such as cellular death, chronic inflammation in the body, metabolism, and longevity and assist significantly with recovery.

Chia seeds


Another great source of protein is chia seeds. Not only that, but they also contain all nine essential amino acids. They are great suppliers of minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. In addition to that, chia seeds contain inflammatory fat that supports muscle recovery after intense workouts. 

If you're not exactly sure how to use them, here are a couple of tips and ideas. One of the easiest ways to get them involved in your daily meals is by adding them to Greek yogurt or a smoothie. You could also choose to make a chia seed pudding. All you need to do is use a little coconut milk and add whatever fresh fruit you want to top it off with.

Green Tea

One study published back in 2018 showed that men who supplemented with at least 500mg of green tea extract daily managed to reduce signs of muscle damage caused by exercise. Drinking green tea will provide your body with antioxidants and polyphenols that will assist in regulating oxidative damage caused by intense exercising. 

Bananas


You could never go wrong with bananas after working out. They are rich in carbohydrates and potassium, which are the two most efficient and muscle-friendly post-workout nutrients that you can feed your body with. Bananas are great for replenishing carbohydrates that have been burned out for fuel while you were exercising. They make up for all the electrolytes that have been lost in sweat.

Oatmeal


Oatmeal is also a great post-workout meal, especially if you’re in a rush. Not only is it good for muscle rebuilding and recovering, but it can also lead to a longer life, according to a study published in the journal Circulation back in 2016. Some of the research done by experts from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health even point out that people who eat 33 grams of whole grains daily manage to reduce their risk of premature death by 9% compared to those who don’t eat whole grains. All you need to do is make yourself a bowl of delicious oatmeal with any kind of milk of your preference and then you can even add any fruits you want to add some additional flavor as well.

Cottage cheese


Cottage cheese can also be a great post-workout snack. It can provide your body with two kinds of protein: casein and whey. On one hand, whey protein has a very important role in replenishing muscles quickly after a workout routine. On the other hand, casein works more slowly, but it is very effective too. It can even be a great snack before you work out. It will allow your muscles to keep recovering eve while you’re sleeping. But other than that, cottage cheese is packed with live cultures aka good bacteria that can help your body break down and absorb nutrients. As a result, eating cottage cheese will help your muscles grow stronger and bigger over time. You can either eat it plain or topped with fruit. While it can be served for breakfast, it can also be a midday snack. 

Tart cherries


There has been researching backing up the fact that tart cherry juice has the ability to minimize post-workout muscle pains, but also delay time to fatigue, and promote faster muscle recovery for runners. In addition to that, eating tart cherries and drinking tart cherry juice can improve your overall performance and reduce post-workout recovery time for lifters. Tart cherries are also great because you can eat them as dried fruits. In this case, consuming dried tart cherries after working out can significantly reduce muscle breakdown and pain, as well as inflammation in your body. There are many ways you can eat tart cherries. You can eat them plain, add them to your oatmeal, or even mix them in salads, and so on. Just make sure you are not eating too many dried tart cherries since they often come with high amounts of sugar. 

Mānuka honey


One type of honey, in particular, has many great benefits for muscles after intense workouts. Manuka honey isn't your regular sticky honey everyone has in the pantry. It is actually monoclonal honey that predominantly comes from the nectar of one plant species from New Zealand called the Manuka bush. Manuka honey has a very distinctive flavor that sets it apart from other types of honey. It is a bit milder than typical honey and it’s also a much thicker as well. 

Manuka honey is thought to be one of the healthiest and most beneficial forms of honey in the whole world. It is an anti-inflammatory that can help you reduce exercise-induced inflammation in your body. It also contains high amounts of carbohydrates and they are much needed for refilling glycogen stores and delivering protein to your muscles. You can either try taking one or two spoons of it after an intense workout or even add it to your yogurt or tea. 

Nuts & Seeds


Nuts and seeds are one of the best post-workout snacks because they provide your body with essential Omega-3 fatty acids. That is what helps your body fight inflammation. It also provides you with protein that is needed for muscle synthesis and growth. They are also high in electrolytes for adequate hydration and zinc that boost your immunity. Seeds and nuts are packed with protein and fiber that many vegans and vegetarians love to eat daily, but they can also be a great plant-based snack for those who eat meat as well.

Turmeric


Turmeric is packed with antioxidant curcumin which is great for reducing inflammation in muscles. Not only that, but curcumin has also been proven to delay onset muscle soreness which makes it a perfect post-exercise addition to snacks. This spice contains compounds have the ability to reduce muscle damage and inflammation caused by intense workouts. They also promote muscle repair and guarantee an even higher level of performance. Curcumin can also help ease pain and swelling. This is why it is recommended that you add turmeric into soups or make a turmeric latte from time to time. All you need to do is combine two cups of heated cow or almond milk, one teaspoon turmeric, and one teaspoon of ginger.

Sweet potatoes


By adding sweet potatoes to any of your post-workout meals you can finally say goodbye to all of your sore muscles. Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of glycogen. They are a great source of beta carotene and vitamin C which your body needs to stay strong and healthy. They are also very delicious. Plus you can serve them in several different ways so it never gets boring. You can bake them on the grill, or cook them in the oven with some olive oil and any spices you want, and so on. Try mixing up different spices such as salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, or even the previously-mentioned turmeric. 

Salmon


Just like seeds and nuts, salmon also contains omega 3 fatty acids, but it also contains high amounts of protein which is a key component in muscle restoring and building process. Try cooking up some salmon either for lunch or dinner, depending on what time of the day you like to work out. Just remember to eat protein in at least 45 minutes after doing exercises to ensure adequate recovery and strength. 

Cacao


Cacao is also great because it has high levels of antioxidants, vitamin B, and magnesium that will reduce stress in your body directly related to exercise. It will also balance your electrolytes, and boost your energy levels. Cacao contains antioxidants called flavones that are even able to boost your body’s production of nitrous oxide, causing your blood vessel walls to open and relax. As a result, this helps lower your blood pressure and promote overall health. You can include cacao in your daily meals by adding it to your smoothies or simply by mixing it with milk.

Liquid Meals

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Some people find it hard to stomach food after working out. In that case, drinking protein shakes can be very helpful. They are easy to drink and will feed your body with all the necessary nutrients your body needs after an intense workout. All you need are some fruits, milk of your choice, and some post-workout protein. You can either drink this before or after you’re done with your exercises. 

Quinoa

Lastly, quinoa is an amazing addition to any diet, but especially for those who are following vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free diets. This grain is great for increasing protein and fiber intake since it’s loaded with both. You can enjoy quinoa either as a side dish or as a part of your main meal.

Conclusion

All things considered, there are many great options for post-workout snacks and meals you can choose from. Give everything you might find appealing a try and just switch up different combinations every once in a while so it doesn’t get boring.

Bio: Lena Hemsworth is a writer, everlasting enthusiast, and loves to read a good book. She believes that there is nothing better than starting your day with a hot cup of coffee.

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