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6 Foods That Help Muscle Recovery

athlete looking off into distance

Feeling tired and achy after the gym? Believe it or not, your everyday nutrition plays a massive role in your sports performance and post-workout recuperation. Adding some foods that help muscle recovery to your diet plan could give you the edge you’ve been looking for.

How do you get started? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most nutritious post-workout meals, snacks, and even supplements on which you can feast.

1. Lean Chicken Breasts

Craving some meat after your workout? There might be a good reason for that. Research from the University Of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that consuming low-fat, protein-rich foods directly after exercise could help speed up muscle recovery.

One of the best examples of this type of food is lean chicken breasts.

For the best results, remove the skin and slowly oven-bake the breasts. The meat will still be tender and delicate but excluding the skin means that you cut out some of the fats here.

2. Coffee

Reaching for a cup of joe right after you’ve hit the gym may be the last thing on your mind. Surprisingly, though, giving yourself a quick caffeine hit could be just what you need to ensure that your muscles refuel fast.

coffee as foods that help muscle recovery

One study from the American Physiological Society found that post-exercise caffeine could help to boost the amount of glycogen your muscles get by around 66%. Since workouts tend to deplete your glycogen levels, replenishing them is a smart way to help your muscles recover. Just go easy on the milk and sugar!

3. Whole Eggs

Hard-boiled, scrambled, or sunny side up? Eating some whole eggs (i.e. not just the egg whites) after your workout is the way to go. These are actually some of the best foods that help muscle recovery since they are packed with healthful protein.

Another study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that eating whole eggs boosts your muscle-building potential by 40% more than eating white eggs after you are active. 

4. Tart Cherry Juice

Looking for a quick way to speed up your muscle recovery after you’ve completed your workout? You might just have found it. Why not try a quick shot of tart cherry juice? The sour drink may do more than you expect.

cherries as foods that help muscle recovery

Research into marathon runners found that consuming this sweet little drink could both reduce inflammation and speed up muscle function recovery. You can buy this supplement in many health food stores and online too.

5. Fresh Fish

Chowing down on a fillet of marine-based fish after your workout is one way to help your muscles recover. These foods that help muscle recovery are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Studies suggest that these acids have a wealth of health benefits, including some astounding anti-inflammatory properties.

Taking any inflammation down means that your muscles start to heal much faster than they otherwise would. Again, you need to ensure that you get a lean piece of fish and grill it, rather than frying it.

6. Beets (or Beet Juice)

Here’s perhaps one of the most unexpected foods that help muscle recovery. Research published in the US National Library of Medicine suggests that drinking beet juice between bouts of exercise can help to speed up muscle function recovery as well as boost your overall performance levels. That’s what they call a win-win situation.

beets as foods that help muscle recovery

And, if you don’t fancy drinking this supplement, you could get the same effect from eating beets instead. Why not chop some up and add them to a superfood salad after your next session?

Ready to revamp your diet? Changing what you eat directly after you’ve worked out could be one of the greatest things you do for your health. Not only will this shift allow you to work harder, but it also means that you will be able to heal much faster than ever before.

Start by including these seven foods that help muscle recovery in your diet. You might also want to do some extra research of your own and find more nutrient-packed ingredients.

Tags: recovery


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