A recent review of scientific studies has looked at several foods and ingredients which could reduce muscle soreness after exercise
It’s always a good idea to plan rest days or easy runs into your training schedule to make sure you’re adequately recovered from hard workouts, but your diet can provide a helping hand in that regard too.
A recent scientific review looked at a plethora of research into foods alleged to reduce reduce muscle and boost recovery. Here are some that were found to have positive results.
Rich in anthocyanins, blackcurrants were shown in one study to reduce creatine kinase, an enzyme which is marker of muscle damage.
Tart cherry juice
Available from health food stores, tart cherry juice has been shown in several studies to reduce the effects of muscle soreness post-exercise. One study showed eight days of supplementation was enough to make a difference.
The review concluded, after looking at several studies, “early evidence suggests a potential role of vitamin D supplementation in preventing EIMD, though more evidence is required as mixed results have been reported in the literature.”
Caffeine has been shown in studies such as this one to reduce the perception of muscle soreness. Cyclists who consumed 3mg/kg of bodyweight in caffeine immediately following a 164-km cycle race and for the next four mornings had significantly lower-leg muscle soreness.
A good source of ellagitannins, a type of polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, pomegranate juice has been found to reduce muscle damage. One study reported five days of drinking 800ml per day was sufficient to leadtosignificantly greater muscle function after damaging eccentric exercise.
We’ve all heard about the powers of beetroot when it comes to boosting endurance, but did you know that scientists have found it can improve recovery time too? One study, for example, found supplementation for 48 hours following exercise led to faster recovery of pressure pain threshold and of muscle function.
Results were mixed when it comes to green tea, with the review mentioned suggesting more investigation was needed into the optimal dose. But green tea is a generally healthy option so it may be worth a try.
Curcumin is the most active ingredient in turmeric, which is a spice that has recently earned its label as a “superfood”. Initial results show curcumin may alleviate inflammation and soreness caused by eccentric exercise.
The effect of ginger on reducing muscle soreness after exercise are only recently being realised. One study showed 11 days of consuming 2g per day of ginger led to led to a reduction of pain when completing eccentric elbow flexion exercise.
Investigation into ginseng is preliminary, the above-mentioned report says, but the herb, which is available in tea, has been seen to reduce indirect markers of muscle damage.