You just got back into working out. Or, maybe you're a workout warrior and you challenged yourself so much that you woke up the next day feeling like you got hit by a mack truck. No one enjoys it but we've all experienced it before. It's inflammation. It's uncomfortable, painful, and a motivation killer when you need to get to the gym. The truth is, when we exercise we damage muscle. The body's natural response to stress or injury is to protect by inflaming the given area. But just because it's a natural process doesn't mean there is nothing we can do to help it. Here are 5 foods to eat post-workout that will help fight inflammation.
Berries contain many components, but anthocyanins, the phenolic compounds that give berries their red, blue, and purple colors, have been found to have a wide range of health-related properties, including antioxidant, antitumorigenic, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, and antimicrobial effects. Bilberry is one of the richest sources of anthocyanins. Bilberries look just like blueberries on the outside but they are red on the inside, unlike blueberries which are greenish.
The effects of tart cherry juice consumption were tested in a double-blind, randomized trial of runners participating in a 24-hour relay race. Runners drank two 355 milliliter beverages containing either tart cherry juice or a placebo beverage daily for one week prior to the race and during the race (the equivalent of 90 to 100 cherries). Both groups reported pain after the race. But the runners who drank tart cherry juice experienced a substantially smaller pain increase after the race. This natural protection against acute muscle soreness suggested that tart cherries must be providing some defense against muscle damage.
Two popular examples are salmon and tuna. Fatty fish are the best source of omega-3's. Clinical intervention studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and, therefore, might be useful in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. They are necessary for human health, but the body can't make them. You have to get them through food. Omega-3's are necessary for human health, but the body can't make them! You have to get them through food.
Another excellent source of omega-3's are walnuts. Not only are they delicious but they're also super easy to take on the go! Fighting inflammation is just one of many benefits to eating walnuts. They are full of antioxidants, vitamin E, biotin, folate, melatonin, and amino acid l-arginine. Those components result in fighting cancer, heart health, brain health, and weight control. Do yourself a favor and pick up some walnuts the next time you find yourself at the grocery store.
Hot peppers (like chili and cayenne) are rich in capsaicin, a chemical that’s used in topical creams that reduce pain and inflammation. Capsaicin reduces levels of substance P, the compound in the body that triggers inflammation and pain impulses from the central nervous system. When it comes to combating inflammation, hot peppers pack a serious punch! If you're into spicy foods, this may be the right anti-inflammatory choice for you. As for the rest of us, we'll stick with the choices above.