Adopting a healthy
and well-planned diet is vital for athletes and gym bunnies hoping to aid
muscle recovery after a workout. Indeed, ensuring that your muscles get the
right kind of care and attention is imperative if you want to avoid
interrupting your workout schedule.
If you’re unsure about the kinds of foods and drinks you should be putting in your body after an exercise session, we’ve put together a brief list of muscle-saving ideas for you to try:
High-glycaemic fruits, like watermelon, and starchy vegetables, like potatoes, are great to eat after a workout. This is because they rehydrate and replenish muscle glycogen stores. Muscle glycogen stores are the energy source of your muscles. Many high-glycaemic and starchy foods also contain unique antioxidant qualities that can be a real help for tissue repair and general fatigue recovery.
Typically, these foods also increase insulin levels in the body. Insulin has a protective antioxidant effect on muscles by suppressing inflammatory products produced when exercising.
Watermelon – improves nitric oxide production Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes – Satisfy hunger and contain high levels of nutrients
Pineapple and Kiwi – Raise blood antioxidant status and help fight inflammation and pain.
Almonds tend to be the nut of choice for athletes as they are rich in omega-6 fat. This healthy kind of fat helps the body recuperate from intense bouts of exercise and helps speed up the muscle recovery process. Mixing it up with other types of nut is a good idea, however, as different varieties offer different health benefits. Walnuts, for example, are full of nutrients and are great for boosting energy levels.
Generally speaking, opting for protein-rich foods will be beneficial for those hoping to look after their muscles. This is because any type of exercise will contribute to muscle protein breakdown, regardless of how physically fit you are. Consuming a decent amount of protein will help give your body the amino acids necessary for repairing muscle protein. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious foods that are high in protein such as eggs, tuna, protein bars, chicken, salmon, cottage cheese and Greek yoghurt.
Chocolate milk is great for exercise recovery thanks to its excellent combination of carbohydrates and protein. A recent study comparing chocolate milk and typical sports drinks showed that sports players that drink chocolate milk after a workout have less creatine kinase in their bodies, a substance that indicates muscle damage. In this way, it is very effective for fast recovery.
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