What foods help sore muscles recover?

S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3
Ask Louise

04 January 2019

Does cherry juice help muscle soreness?

When the muscles become painful after a workout it is known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS for short. If the muscles aren’t used to certain movements, such as those involved in your new Zumba class, for example, then it can cause damage to the muscle fibres. Fortunately in this instance the fibres heal quickly and any pain usually only lasts a day or so. Until then though, cherry juice can prove beneficial.

Research has highlighted that drinking cherry juice after exercise reduces pain, as well as the amount of strength lost through physical activity. It was also shown to have a positive effect on muscle tenderness and muscle damage compared to a placebo, but why should this be the case?1 Well, these results aren’t too surprising when you consider that cherries have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.  

What is the best cherry juice to drink?

Many products containing cherry juice also include added sugar and, since this can promote inflammation, it is definitely to be avoided if you have achy muscles.

Sour Cherry Juice, on the other hand, is more likely to contain natural cherry juice. You should be able to find this kind of product in your local health food store. 

Does omega 3 help with sore muscles?

The benefits of including plenty of omega 3 in your diet  are well established: it can aid sleep, skin conditions such as psoriasis and even blood pressure. Not only that though, research shows that in a high dose omega 3 supplements can delay the onset of DOMS after training, even if it does not prevent it completely.2 Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory which explains why it can have a positive effect on the muscles.  

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Which foods are high in omega 3?

Omega 3 is present in a whole range of foods including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. If you are a vegan or vegetarian however, linseeds, pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts also provide this essential fatty acid. 

Try these healthy recipes for a good dose of omega 3:

What are the benefits of potato juice?

Potato juice is thought to provide gentle anti-inflammatory effects meaning it too could aid aching muscles. As well as this, it has traditionally been used to maintain joint health and to help treat symptoms of arthritis. It is also rich in potassium which provides further support for the muscles and bones.  

Where can I purchase potato juice?

For most of us potato juice isn’t something we purchase every day therefore you may need a bit of advice on what product to get.

Biotta’s Potato Juice stands out as it made from organic potato and fennel juice rather than being from concentrate which tends to have added sugar and fewer nutrients.

The drink is also pH controlled meaning there is no need for additives or preservatives.  

What’s your favourite post-workout snack?

Does protein heal sore muscles?

Protein is essential for the health of the muscles as it can actually help to repair any damage caused by exercise. As our in-house nutritionist Emma discusses in her blog ‘How much protein do you really need?’, when we consume protein it gets broken down into amino acids known as peptides. The body then uses these to restore and rebuild muscle fibre, including any small tears in the muscle that occur during exercise.  This also explains why protein is so sought-after amongst fitness fanatics wishing to build up muscle.  

How can I get protein naturally?

Excess protein can contribute to digestive problems, nutrient deficiencies, dehydration and even gout so you’ll have to be careful not to consume too much. The UK government recommends that women consume 45g a day whereas men should aim for around 55.5g – that’s about 20-35% of your daily calorie intake.3 

There are a wide range of foods that contain a healthy dose of protein so it is fairly easy to get your intake naturally. For the vegans and vegetarians, soy, beans, lentil, quinoa and buckwheat offer the greatest quantity of protein. Other good sources of protein, however, include eggs, fish, chicken and milk. Why not try the recipes below for a meal that is healthy, tasty and rich and protein?

Do blueberries help with inflammation?

Blueberries are often described as a superfood because they contain lots of antioxidants and vitamins, plus they hold anti-inflammatory properties. It is because of this that they make the ideal snack when your muscles are feeling a little tender. This idea is backed up by research conducted by the Massey School of Sport and Exercise which found that drinking a blueberry smoothie after exercise increased the muscle recovery rate of athletes.  

What can I do with freshly picked blueberries?

Blueberries are delicious eaten fresh but for a little more variety you could try adding them to your breakfast cereal or mixing them into a smoothie. Why not try our blueberry and kiwi smoothie for example, or our raspberry and blueberry one? This has the addition of coconut milk which makes it a little creamier. For something a little more indulgent I’d highly recommend out easy-to-make blueberry pancakes!

Food and drinks to avoid

As well as including all of these beneficial foods in your diet, when your muscles are sore it can be useful to avoid certain foods and drinks as well. Below I’ve listed what these are and why you should stay clear of them at this time. 

Food and drinks to avoid Why?
Processed meats, especially red meat These can contribute to the build-up of arachidonic acid which is inflammatory.
Refined sugar Suagr promotes inflammation.
Salt  Salt can affect the balance of electrolytes and minerals that support the functions of the muscles and joints.
Caffeine and alcohol These deplete mineral sources and can trigger inflammatory processes in the body.
Citrus fruit In some instances these can aggravate discomfort.
Processed foods including crisps and sweets These can contribute to weight gain which will only put more pressure on the muscles.



2 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19390211.2016.1205701  


4 https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-9-19  

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