Looking to take the edge off stubborn muscle pain? Delayed-onset muscle soreness still hanging around by the time you’re ready to head back into the gym? Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory medications can help, but overuse can tear up your stomach–and won’t give you nearly as many benefits as getting anti-inflammatory and quick recovery benefits from the food you eat. So the next time you’re ready to head into the gym and wear yourself out, make sure you’re fueled up with these five muscle-pain fighting foods:
Coffee. Coffee’s been discovered to be something of a wonder food in recent years, with studies suggesting improvements in heart health, stamina, athletic performance, and post-workout recovery from a moderate coffee intake. Just don’t overdo it with additives, and don’t drink so much you make yourself sick; moderation is key in getting the best effectives from coffee; reducing DOMS isn’t work ending up an anxious wreck because you’re suffering caffeine intoxication.
Fish. Fish has a lot to offer regarding reducing muscle pain. You get your glutamine, which has been shown to reduce damage to muscles during exercise and improve muscle gain. You get your fish oil, which has noted anti-inflammatory effects and improved your health in general. You get the protein you need to rebuild your muscles quickly, so they don’t hurt as much or as long. It’s also typically quite lean compared to other protein sources, making it ideal for anyone looking to cut fat while they build muscle. So eat some fish already.
Red cabbage. If you don’t want to eat fish for some reason, you’ll need to get your glutamine elsewhere–so try some red cabbage. There are other plants and meats you can get it from, too, but it’s not often that cabbage makes it onto a list about ways to improve your bodybuilding, so here it is.
Tart cherry juice. Another drink that’s been making noise in the fitness community, tart cherry juice can work wonders for reducing muscle pain during exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness afterwards, alongside its myriad other health benefits. Just make sure you’re getting tart cherry juice and not some other cherry-flavored nonsense.
Protein shakes. If you take fitness seriously, you’re probably already drinking protein shakes–but if you’re not, consider doing so. Pre-workout, post-workout, and before bed protein shakes can add up to a major reduction in muscle pain during and after workouts, fueling your body with everything it needs to recover quickly and efficiently from the beating it takes at the gym. You’ll be hydrated, full on protein, and have plenty of carbohydrates to get you going (depending on the shake in question).