Sore, swollen muscles: an all-too-familiar, natural effect brought on by heavy exercise. Intense workouts can cause muscle tissues to become damaged, but sports nutritionist Dr. Susan Kleiner says inflammation is part of the normal healing process.
So while swelling is essentially unavoidable for athletes, you can take measures to reduce soreness through proper nutrition. Last week we discussed the benefits of cherry juice in reducing soreness. But many other foods can also help. On her blog, Dr. Kleiner provides a list of anti-inflammatory foods, which she recommends incorporating with meals and snacks as often as possible. Included on her list:
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Fatty fish
- Green beans
Jane Jakubczak, University of Maryland coordinator of nutrition services, adds two more items: salsa and avocados. She says both are high in vitamins and antioxidants, which studies suggest reduce inflammation.
If you've had a rough workout and need a muscle-soreness-reducing meal, check out Jakubczak’s recommended dish for muscle repair, which you can eat on the road to post-training recovery.