Many of us have had days where we work out and feel oh so very sore afterwards—so much so, that we don’t even want to return to the gym. Surprisingly, given that we all feel this from time to time, most people don’t realize how many foods can reduce soreness and increase muscle growth post-exercise.
Of course, there is the well-known protein shake, and that certainly has its place. However, the protein shake can be limited in its benefits for the body. Not all, but many brands contain additives and engineered synthetics. This is why I prefer superfoods. They are 100 percent natural and help you achieve the same results as protein shakes and then some. I have found that in most cases this form of self-care and refueling has exponential benefits when it comes to muscle recovery. Consuming these foods will provide your muscles with adequate material for replenishing the tissue with zero negative effects on the digestive system and many added benefits to your overall health.
Superfoods are also incredibly versatile: You can put them into smoothies, incorporate them into recipes, or eat them all on their own. Whatever you decide, I can guarantee a delicious result with incredible benefits for those sore muscles. Here are four of my top favorite superfoods for muscle recovery, give them a try, you will love them!
1. Spirulina is the ultimate athlete’s superfood, containing all eight amino acids. It is a very high source of chlorophyll, salt, phytonutrients, and enzymes.Spirulina is also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, K, and E, which are all majorly important when it comes to repairing muscle tissue. It even contains the same amount of iron that you would get from eating red meat. It is best to consume Spirulina immediately after workouts for a rapid healing effect.
2. Raw Chocolate is not only incredibly delicious; it also helps lower the stress of physical activities. It contains high levels of magnesium, chromium, B vitamins, and antioxidants, which aid in shortening your muscle recovery time. Cacao also has the highest levels of magnesium than any other food on the planet, which helps you maintain normal nerve and muscle function.
3. Cayenne is, in my personal opinion, the best spice on earth. It purifies the blood in order for oxygen to be carried through our heart and lungs and ultimately to our muscles. Cayenne also helps boost the metabolism and aids in weight loss. It even stimulates fluid elimination through sweating, which helps the body cool itself while eliminating built up toxins.
4. Goji Berries are known for naturally containing and producing the human growth hormone when consumed. This is what makes them especially useful in bodybuilding and other extreme sports. Goji berries are also high in antioxidants and protein. They contain 19 different amino acids, including all eight of the essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle-building protein, which is crucial when is comes to repairing muscle tissue and reducing soreness.
Photo Credit: Mimi McCormick