Many of us, who aren’t professional athletes, don’t put much thought into the best post-workout food. It’s true that just about everything you put into your body affects your metabolism and your ability to get the most out of workouts. However, when it comes to sports nutrition and workout recovery timing is everything. It’s possible to optimize the benefits of exercising and minimize the aches and pains with the right foods.
Protein is the obvious nutrient that needs replenishing since it’s what your body uses to build muscle and research has shown that eating protein right after a workout promotes muscle protein synthesis. It turns out you might want to make it your late night snack. According to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute: “Dietary protein ingestion prior to sleep may represent an effective dietary strategy to inhibit muscle protein breakdown, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, facilitate the skeletal muscle adaptive response to exercise training and improve exercise training effectiveness.
Your muscles aren’t the only part of your body that needs replenishment after exertion. Here is some of the best post-workout food for rehydrating, reducing swelling and making your exercise really count.
1. Chocolate Milk
The rumors are true, chocolate milk is even better for post-workout recovery than most exercise drinks. The key is creating a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein so in this case adding a little flavor and sweetness is a good thing. According to the Washington Post, “The amount of carb-infused milk recommended can range anywhere from 8 to 16 ounces depending on the intensity, frequency and duration of the exercise as well as the person’s gender, size and age.”
2. Fresh Pineapple
Pineapple is loaded with vitamin C, which helps stimulate healing and it’s got fiber and B-6. But the real pineapple benefit is bromelain, an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation and relieves sprains or other injuries.
All yogurt contains protein but Greek yogurt has the highest level. Plus you get the benefits of calcium and probiotics.
Turkey is a great post-workout food because it’s lean, high in protein and also contains the mineral selenium which helps prevent cell damage.
Coconut oil is high in saturated fat but it’s medium chain fatty acids which is the ‘good’ fat. Because it’s so easily digested, coconut oil goes straight to your liver for instant an instant energy boost. This makes it a great pre-workout snack too. Coconut also helps boost immunity and reduces inflammation.
Salmon is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Among other things, omega-3s help reduce inflammation and may even make any anti-inflammatory drugs you take more effective.
7. Turmeric & Ginger
Turmeric and ginger have both been shown to reduce inflammation. Also, turmeric is a fantastic antioxidant, add a dash of black pepper to increase your body’s ability to absorb turmeric.
There’s nothing better than a post-workout smoothie to rehydrate and revitalize. Try this Pineapple Turmeric Smoothie that has the ideal 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein.
9. Blueberries & Cherries
Blueberries and cherries are rich in antioxidants and they also contain anthocyanins, which help carry oxygen to your blood and speed muscle recovery.