Thursday, April 4, 2013

Improve Muscle Recovery

Wellness Vancouver would like to thank guest writer Eve Pearce for contributing the article below. She’s a freelance writer based out of Halifax, UK.

Foods that Can Improve Muscle Recovery Time

The phrase ‘no pain no gain’ definitely applies to working out. After a vigorous session at the gym, muscle ache can sometimes make you think twice about going to your next workout. Muscles take time to recover after exercise, which can leave you in a state of discomfort. What is the best means of minimizing the period that it takes for you to stop hurting? One approach could be to tailor your diet so that what you eat improves your recovery time. An article published by Women’s Health magazine indicates that lemon verbena extract is a natural remedy for sore muscles. The magazine recommends taking a gram each day. This South American shrub is one of many foods that can be consumed in order to help rid yourself of painful muscles as quickly as possible.

Black Cod (Local B.C. Sable Fish)

Those who wish to gain bigger arms and legs and tone your bodies up will have to suffer to an extent in order to do so, as the ache that is experienced is a reminder that you are working hard and building muscle. However, most people want this reminder to last for as short a period as possible. A good way of minimizing it is to eat black cod, as according to nutrition expert Jennifer Grossman, this type of fish possesses particularly high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been demonstrated to decrease muscle soreness after vigorous exercise sessions by thirty-five percent. These acids also reduce inflammation and increase the range of motion. Other fish that are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids include herring, sardines, mackerel, salmon and halibut. Significant amounts of these acids are also present in krill oil, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, echium oil, kiwifruit seed oil and mountain peanut oil.


Pineapple is another good food for aiding muscle recovery. It contains an enzyme known as bromelain that can reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. It is packed with vitamin C as well, which research carried out by the University of Bath in the UK suggests has modest benefits with regards to easing muscle pain brought about by exercise.

Ginger and Mauka Honey

Ginger possesses gingerols, which have a similar anti-inflammatory effect to bromelain and can therefore also help to reduce pain and discomfort after a workout. Sports nutrition expert Marie Spano recommends taking two grams of ginger a day for this purpose. Manuka honey is a beneficial recovery food as well, as it not only reduces inflammation but also helps to rebuild muscle fibres, making it a useful addition to the diet of anybody who regularly works out.


The spice turmeric possesses a chemical known as curcumin, which has a potent anti-inflammatory effect. It also provides you with antioxidants that reduce soreness and aid muscle recovery. These factors make it the perfect spice to include in your food after a particularly hard workout that has left your body sore all over.


Eating mangoes may also help to reduce the pain and discomfort that you experience post-exercise, as research published in the Pharmacognosy Review journal indicates that they possess anti-inflammatory properties. They are rich in vitamin E as well, which aids muscle repair according to the results of a study conducted by Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta, USA. Improving the speed at which your muscles recover at can maximize the amount of time that you can dedicate to optimizing your levels of fitness and getting in shape. Adapt your diet accordingly and you can decrease the discomfort that you experience and help to alleviate the pain that can sometimes be caused by pushing yourself to the max in the gym.


Whilst it is true that muscle ache is nothing out of the ordinary after a vigorous workout, it still isn’t particularly pleasurable and might put off some people participating in regular exercise sessions. Consuming foodstuffs that aid muscle recovery is by no means a miracle cure that will alleviate all of your aches and pains the minute that you do it. However it can provide a helping hand.

FYI:  from Cameron Hunt BHK

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or D.O.M.S. is your body’s natural system telling you that cellular restoration is underway … and I usually listen. As you exercise it is normal have some cellar breakdown or micro hemorrhage in the sarcolemma (or muscle fibers). To a degree, the muscle breakdown cycle is desirable because it allows for regrowth, regeneration, and eventually leads to increases in strength and lean mass. DOMS can normally persist for 2 days, but if it lasts longer than 48hrs it’s a sign of overtraining. Last, DOMS is usually worse after a period of inactivity and then eases up with regular participation in physical activity. However, if you are constantly experiencing DOMS after every workout, you could be overdoing it, or participating in exercise that isn’t quite right for you.

Recovery From Rest

Many people overlook the necessity for deep sleep when participating in strength training / hard physical activity / involvement in a new fitness regime. For most adults it’s recommended to get a least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, but for DOMS and intense physical activity its recommend to attain 8 – 9 hours of sleep per night to enhance muscle recovery.

Recovery From Sunshine
Vitamin D is systhesized in the body from sunshine is an essential ingredient for healthy immune system and positive mental state. By exposing our skin to the appropriate amount of direct sunlight +/-20 mins regularly, can help muscle recovery and is implicit in maintaining strong healthy bones for those muscles to move.

Overall, get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties and opt for foodstuffs that are rich in vitamin C and vitamin E and you can make working out and improving your body as pain-free an experience as possible.
Thanks EVE!