Everyone agrees that recovery is important. But given the time constraints we all face, coming up with a recovery strategy that’s both effective and realistic can be challenging. Recovery, whether from training, racing, or another high-stress event is the process of repairing broken down muscle fibers and returning them to their normal strength and performance levels. Prolonged, intensive stress like training or racing creates trauma in the muscles; it breaks down their fibers so they can’t contract as strongly again until they repair. With the right foods to supercharge your recovery, however, you can accelerate your recovery and get back to work sooner.
Foods to Supercharge Your Recovery
1. Protein: Grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, fish, eggs
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, supercharge your recovery after workout, or simply eat healthier, protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. Protein helps your body grow and repair muscles, tendons and other tissues, as well as produce enzymes and hormones critical for general health.
The human body can not function without protein. It is the primary building block of our bodies. Protein is found in animal sources such as fish, chicken, beef, eggs and milk. Plant sources include legumes (such as lentils and peas), nuts (such as almonds), seeds (such as sunflower seeds) and soy products (such as tofu).
Protein supplements are great for anyone looking to add more protein to their diet. They are convenient and a great way to help meet your daily intake requirements quickly and easily – read on to learn more about these benefits of protein for a healthy body.
2. Vitamin C: Berries, citrus, kiwi, peppers, broccoli
Vitamin C is important for your immune system and healthy skin. It helps your body produce collagen. A protein that keeps your skin elastic, and also aids in the production of melanin, which prevents sunburn. All of these benefits are why it’s so important to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C in your diet every day!
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in the body. And prevents them from causing further damage to healthy cells. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C can help prevent premature signs of aging. By neutralizing enzymes called “oxidative stressors” that break down collagen and elastin.
3. Vitamin A: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, winter squash
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient and one of the most important vitamins for healthy eyes. It helps keep your vision sharp, improves response time, and supports retinal function.
This vitamin also plays a role in helping you see in low light. By supporting the dilator muscles of your eyes. This is why eating more vitamin A-rich foods can help you see better at night. Eating plenty of vitamin A-rich foods also supports optimal eye health. Including protecting against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Salmon, flax seed, walnuts
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats your body needs but cannot produce on its own. Because of this, they must be consumed in foods or supplements. Omega-3s have a number of potential health benefits, including lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. They also appear to have anti-inflammatory properties. That may help reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases like arthritis and even cancer.
The two main types of omega-3s are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). ALA is found in plants such as flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and canola oil. EPA is most abundant in fish oils like cod liver oil. Evidence suggests that getting enough EPA from fish oils can help with arthritis management. By reducing joint pain and increasing range of motion. Try adding these plant-based sources of omega-3 to your diet.
5. Zinc: Oysters, nuts, seeds, chicken
Zinc plays a role in the production of testosterone, which is why this mineral is especially important for men. This helps maintain healthy levels of the hormone insulin and supports the production of red blood cells. Zinc deficiency is rare, but it can lead to a decrease in both testosterone and sperm count.
Zinc also promotes the production of nitric oxide, which can help boost circulation and reduce inflammation. In addition to its well-known benefits on sexual performance and general immunity, zinc might also have potential as an anti-aging supplement because it has been found to increase the length of telomeres (the end caps on our DNA strands that shorten with age). However, there’s not enough evidence to recommend more zinc than what’s in your diet already.
Having a look at the myth that you gain weight when you are injured, I want to mention a quick bonus tip. (I believe that you will be stuck in bed or on the couch while you recover, resulting in the belief that you will gain weight.) In addition to causing you to stay in recovery longer, lose muscle mass, and end up weaker than you were before you were injured, this kind of thinking can have a negative effect on your health.
In addition to burning 5-50% more calories when injured than when at rest, the body also consumes calories at a higher rate during recovery. If you are a chronic dieter or have poor eating habits, you are likely malnourished and at risk of injury. Therefore, proper food intake prior to, during, and after an injury is crucial to maximizing your body's healing potential and helps you supercharge your recovery.
Final Thought: Foods to Supercharge Your Recovery
There are plenty of foods that can help you get a healthy and effective recovery from exercise. Foods with protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, fats, and zinc are all helpful foods to supercharge your recovery after a workout. The timing of when you eat these foods can be crucial to getting the best results, so it’s important to know how these foods assist with the recovery process.
If you’re not consuming the right foods during and after exercise, then you’re not getting the full benefits of your workouts. It’s important to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients to recover faster and that you’re not.