Exercise is a key element to keeping the body happy and healthy, whether it’s a jog around the neighborhood, weight lifting at the gym, or a relaxing yoga session at home. A great workout builds strength and endurance, but can also strain or tear muscles, dehydrate the body via sweat, and weaken the immune system. By following every workout with these nutritional foods, your body can recover more quickly without compromising the benefits from exercise.
Bananas are one of the best foods to eat after a hard workout due to their high potassium content. Potassium is an electrolyte which can facilitate liquid restoration and promote healthy cell functions throughout the body to prevent muscle cramps or spasms.
Though it may be higher in fat content, peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, which builds muscle among other tissues. Half a sandwich of peanut butter with whole berry jelly on whole wheat toast will give you more of a “full” feeling than other snacks on this list.
Hummus is a dip mostly comprised of mashed chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, which are high in insoluble fiber. Combined with whole wheat pita, this dip will help refuel your body after a long workout.
It’s no secret that fish have a better protein-to-fat ratio than any other meat! The large amount of protein in tuna, or even salmon, will rebuild sore muscle, while the omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate your body’s inflammatory system to better fight against infections.
Apples are a healthy, fruity source of carbohydrates that will replenish glycogen, the emergency food storage in muscle that is used up during an intensive workout. Also, Vitamin C from apples and other fruits protects against deficiencies in the immune system.
A good low-fat yogurt can contain 15 grams or more of protein, and the probiotic cultures found in yogurt supply “good bacteria” that help your gut absorb vitamins and reinvigorate the immune system. Throw some in a blender with fresh berries and ice to make a refreshing, post-workout smoothie!
It’s not just sugar: one tablespoon of honey contains up to 17 grams of carbohydrates with small amounts of iron, manganese, potassium, calcium, riboflavin, zinc, and other essential nutrients to nourish fatigued muscles and fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
A Little Extra Advice
While not technically a food, the best list of post-workout recovery foods would not be complete without water. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 16-24 fluid ounces of water for every pound lost from a workout session, or at least eight fluid ounces within thirty minutes of finishing scheduled exercise.
When combined with water, the seven foods on this list are guaranteed to repair muscles, rehydrate the body, and strengthen the immune system after any level of exercise. If you are still having trouble with soreness or muscle aches during your next workout try using KT Tape to get a little added support where needed. Make sure to plan accordingly and there will be no need to take time off for recovery.