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Muscle Recovery Food To Get You Back On Track

Avocado and Plate of Fresh Vegetables

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Muscle Recovery Food To Get You Back On Track

When we encounter an injury during workouts or training, a common reaction is to cut back on calorie intake until we recover and get back to our full workout sessions. While this in a way makes sense – after all you are not burning as many calories while you’re resting – it is important to understand that the body’s healing process requires fuel, too. In this case, it needs muscle recovery food to help get you back on track.

Think of it as like fixing a crack on a wall. To patch up the crack you need the appropriate materials. And in the case of muscle recovery, those materials are the food we eat.

So what muscle recovery food do you need?

Food is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and protein help speed up the healing of wounds. Additionally, it helps relax tendons and mend bone fractures quickly. So, apart from following your doctor’s advice about resting the injured parts of your body, applying ice packs and keeping the area elevated, choosing the right food combinations will speed up muscle recovery so you can get back to training in no time.

To help you out, we have come up with this muscle recovery grocery list for your next supermarket trip:

Fruits and Veggies

Need we say more? A healthy diet requires fruits and vegetables. Even more so when you are recovering from an injury or even the usual post-workout muscle soreness.

What to buy

Vitamin A rich food: kale, carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach

Vitamin C rich food: broccoli, oranges, peppers, and strawberries

Why buy them

Vitamin C is proven to help flesh wounds to heal faster, making it an important part of your recovery process. Vitamin C also works by contributing to your body’s collagen production, which in turn helps repair cartilage and connective tissues that may have been damaged in an injury.

Vitamin A on the other hand aids in your body’s production of white blood cells that fight infection and swelling, which is always a risk after an injury.

Meats & Alternatives

Meat is still one of the best sources of protein, which is important in muscle recovery. However, you shouldn’t simply go and just buy any kind of meat.

What to buy

Sirloin, chicken and lean turkey – LEAN meats for non-vegans

Tofu, chickpeas, almonds, tempeh, and peanuts – for vegans or vegetarians

Why buy them

Lean meats are rich sources of protein, which is an important building block of cell production and muscle repair. And because athletes need a specific amount of protein in a day for optimum muscle recovery, eating lean meats is the easiest (yummiest, too) way to help muscles heal faster.

Dairy

Dairy products are also good sources of protein and of course, calcium. However, this doesn’t mean buying tubs of ice cream.

What to buy

Milk and yogurt

Why buy them

Milk and yogurt are good sources of protein and of calcium, which is critical in muscle and bone repair. Also, dairy products contain vitamin D which boosts the body’s calcium absorption. This in turn helps muscles and bones heal from injuries quickly.

Seafood

Fresh seafood is another good source of protein, not to mention the body digests it faster than beef or pork.

What to buy

Trout, tuna, and salmon

Why buy them

Apart from being good sources of protein, tuna, salmon, and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help minimize inflammation from sprains, fractures, and even tendinitis.

Cereal

Yes, cereal. Although not a common food item when it comes to eating right while recovering from an injury, you would be surprised at how much a bowl of this crunchy, tasty comfort food can help your muscles recover from post-workout soreness or injury.

What to buy

Vitamins and mineral fortified cereals

Why buy them

Check the back label of your favorite cereal brands. Does it say the cereal is fortified with zinc? If yes, then add it to your shopping cart. Zinc is proven to boost your body’s immunity and healing process. In fact, along with lean meat, fortified cereals are the best source of this very important mineral.

Fortified cereals also contain carbohydrates (whole-grain carbs, to be exact), which help fuel your body’s efforts to repair itself. By taking in whole grain carbohydrates, your body does not need to use your protein stores for energy, which means faster muscle recovery.

Keep in mind though, that zinc by itself does not repair tissue damage. What it does is assist the other nutrients like calcium and protein that do. Also, keep your fortified cereal intake to less than 40 grams a day, as taking in more of the daily recommended amount can lower your HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels.

Quick recovery snacks to get you back on track

So what about snacks that you can have right after let’s say an hour of working out? Choosing the right food to eat within an hour after your workout will not just help with muscle recovery, it ensures your energy stores are refilled for your next workout session.

Here are a few food (and drink) suggestions:

Avocado slices

Avocados are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are known for their antioxidant properties. Avocados are also rich sources of vitamin C and potassium which is crucial in boosting the body’s immune system.

Snack idea

Using a fork, smash a sliced avocado onto a slice of toasted whole-grain bread and top it off with arugula. Then sit back and enjoy a flavorful, vitamin, and antioxidant-enriched post-workout snack.

Hard-boiled eggs

With 7 grams of protein, an egg is a go-to snack when you need to replenish your protein stores post-workout. It is packed with amino acids that the body needs to boost muscle recovery and repair.

Snack idea

Keeping a bowl of peeled, hard-boiled eggs in your fridge is the quickest and easiest way. You can also add a bit of carbohydrate by mashing a hard-boiled egg on a slice of toasted, sourdough bread. 

Pomegranate Juice

While water (sometimes with a tiny pinch of salt added for electrolytes) is still the best post-workout drink, pomegranate juice is the next best option if you want to add flavor to your post-workout recovery drink.

Snack idea

Rich in antioxidants, natural pomegranate juice tastes great and is very refreshing. Or if you have a favorite post-exercise smoothie, give it a healthy boost by adding natural pomegranate juice.

You can also add sweet pomegranate seeds into a mixed green salad or use it to top off plain yogurt.

Conclusion

What you eat after working out or while you are recovering from an injury is an important part of living an active lifestyle. As an athlete or even someone who just enjoys sports or staying in shape – the sooner you can recover from muscle aches and injury – the sooner you can get back to training.

The good news is, there are a lot of healthy and yummy food options that can help get you back on track. And we hope our list here has helped you out. What’s your go-to choice for recovery food? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear about them, too.

Author Bio

When Jai Tadeo isn’t at work writing full time for HYDRAGUN, she’s usually at home, running on her treadmill. When the weather’s great, she runs 5 kilometers outdoors after a day of writing. She’s also been unsuccessful at beating her husband at badminton every weekend for the past ten years.

About the author

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EMHTeam

James is a fitness expert who enjoys biking, swimming, and weight lifting. He is training to complete his first triathlon this fall!

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