LEARNING CENTER: HEALTH

Are there foods that can help my muscles recover faster and feel less sore?

by Stephanie Nunes, RD

YES! Eating well-balanced meals daily and a variety of foods from every food group can help.

Carbohydrates:

Important for glycogen repletion, preventing muscle soreness, and keeping the immune system boosted. Goal is 8-15 servings/day

Power sources:
Cereal, whole grain breads, oatmeal, beans, lentils, corn, rice cakes, whole grain pasta/rice, pretzels, humus, potatoes (with the skin!), etc.

Protein:

Important to promote muscle repair. Athlete's needs may vary. Goal is approximately 75-100 grams daily.

Power sources:
Eggs, lean meat, nonfat milk, tuna, tofu, yogurt, peanut butter, fish, nonfat cottage cheese, etc.

Fats:

Important to decrease muscle soreness, decrease inflammation, and spare glycogen stores.

Power sources:
Olive oil, fish (omega-3 fatty acids) 3-4 times/week, avocado, nuts, almonds, etc.

Fruits and Vegetables:

Important to reduce damage to your muscle cells, keeps your immune system boosted, decrease soreness after workouts, vitamin C can help repair injuries, etc. Goal is 4-6 servings of vegetables and 3-5 servings of fruit DAILY!

Power sources:
Broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, oranges, kiwi, carrots, pineapple, peas, red peppers, bananas, blueberries/raspberries, squash, cabbage, spinach, dried apricots, tangerines, vegetable juice, mangoes, raisins, etc.

*TIP: Eat a carbohydrate source and protein source within 30 minutes after workouts to promote muscle recovery and glycogen repletion. Ideas: Bagel with non-fat cream cheese, peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread/fruit, left over pizza, cereal with milk/nuts/fruit, tuna sandwich/juice, sports bar, trail mix/yogurt, cottage cheese/fruit, bean burrito/cheese/tomatoes, etc.

Stephanie Nunes is a Registered Dietician, a competitive runner and a mother of two. She resides in San Luis Obispo, CA.