Recovery Nutrition: What You Should Eat to Help Sore Muscles

When you exercise or work out intensely, your muscles often feel sore. That's because they've been stretched and torn apart at the microscopic level.

Don't worry, though; this is exactly what you want if you're looking to build muscle. Torn muscle tissue repairs itself by filling in its gaps with new muscular proteins, increasing the size and mass of your muscles over time.

It’s true what they say – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

That said, sore muscles are no fun, even if they are unavoidable. When you tear your muscle tissue, it's bound to feel painful for a little while afterward.

Fortunately, there are several foods you can eat that may alleviate muscle soreness or even halt DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Let’s take a look at 5 of these food items you should eat to help sore muscles:

5. Cherry Juice

Cherry juice is a great part of a post-workout shake or drink because it’s high in anthocyanins, which are key compounds that provide anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties. A lot of muscle soreness is caused by inflammation, as your muscle fibers and tissues swell up after intense activity.

Eating or drinking foods with anti-inflammatory compounds can go a long way toward eliminating delayed onset muscle soreness and alleviating the other symptoms you might feel.

4. Watermelon

Watermelon is another excellent post-workout snack because it's rich in a particular acid named L-citrulline. In a nutshell, this amino acid is a building block for muscle proteins and increases the production of nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide, in turn, can enhance blood circulation and boost cellular energy. That may be why it reduces muscle damage and soreness after an exercise session.

3. Fatty Fish

Many species of fatty fish like salmon and trout are prime food items for athletes and exercisers already. Why? Fatty fish has tons of protein, which your muscles can use to repair themselves more quickly.

On top of that, fatty fish like salmon includes lots of Omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fatty acid is anti-inflammatory and can help boost muscle growth. If you want to build muscle and avoid too much soreness post-workout, have some salmon for dinner.

2. Eggs

Eggs are nature’s power food. They’re extremely nutrient-dense and their protein is very bioavailable, meaning that your body can take most of the protein from a serving of eggs and use it immediately for muscle growth.

By eating eggs after a workout, you’ll stimulate muscle recovery. If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck, be sure to eat the yolk too - rather than just the egg white, for maximum nutrition benefits.

1. Starchy Veggies

As you exercise hard, you’ll deplete how much glycogen your body stores. Glycogen is the stored form of glucose, a major sugar molecule your body uses for energy.

Carb-rich, starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash and parsnips are excellent choices to replenish this energy source for future athletic performance. Eating starchy veggies can also alleviate muscle soreness and make you feel better after a workout by making you feel less tired overall.

Next time you're feeling the post-workout burn, speed up the healing process (and accelerate your gains!) by diving into these 5 muscle-nourishing foods. 

Thanks for reading, stay strong warrior.

Justin | MME Fitness Contributor

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