Boost your fitness
So now you’ve started back on the exercise regime, you could help your body to recover from the exercise, boosting the blood flow to all those hard working muscles, not by buying expensive, sugar packed sports drinks or specialist supplements but by shopping wisely and putting a few of these nutrient packed foods in your cupboard.
Foods made from soya, like edamame beans and tofu, are perfect for a post-gym boost. They are high in energising nutrients, particularly B-vitamins, copper and phosphorous. B complex vitamins work to break down carbohydrates we consume into glucose for fuel and at the same time they help transport oxygen throughout the body. They’re packed with protein to help build lean muscle, healthy unsaturated fat to boost blood flow to hard-working muscles and naturally anti-inflammatory isoflavones to ease aching joints.
The omega-3 in fish like salmon, mackerel and herring works to reduce joint pain, and will ease the stiffness you can suffer after a hard workout. For long-term energy retention, there cannot be any other protein option as good as salmon. The nutritional benefits of this food are many. It contains the right mix of carbs, proteins as well as healthy fats which can keep you going on without break for long working hours.
Water is responsible for transporting all nutrients in the blood that we use for energy as well as getting rid of waste build-up that leads to fatigue. Without enough water, we cannot metabolise the food we eat into fuel and ultimately cease to function properly. Always drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before and during workouts.
You can find the balance of protein and carbohydrate your body needs after exercise in a glass of milk.
Tomato juice is full of lycopene, which helps with muscle recovery. By mixing up a cocktail of tomato juice, lemon and celery you will replace your lost salts and electrolytes and by adding hot tabasco you will boost your metabolism and help to burn more calories.
Boost your bone strength with a little help from the polyphenols found in blueberries.
Iron found in broccoli, lentils, spinach and red meat, helps supply muscles with oxygen.
To help your body absorb the iron, add Vitamin C-packed orange or kiwi to your meal.
Vitamin C is excellent for recovery from exercise, protecting your body from oxidative damage caused by exercise, air pollution and passive smoking; boosting the immune system and helping to repair connective tissue and cartilage. Kiwis are a real super fruit but oranges, strawberries, peppers and tomatoes all have good levels of Vitamin C.
Dark chocolate, (high cocoa content) as it contains more antioxidants than any fruit except apples, which your body needs to fight the oxidative damage caused by exercise.
The magnesium in nuts – also found in whole grains, pumpkin seeds and dark green leafy veg – helps with muscle contractions and energy metabolism. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, healthy fats and fibre, keeping you feeling full and energised longer. Snacking on nuts before you work out will boost the supply of oxygen to muscles.
Cherry juice has been proven to reduce the muscle damage caused by exercise and obviously the fresh fruit is good too when in season.
Egg yolks are naturally rich in B-vitamins, responsible for converting food into energy and they also have Vitamin D to maintain strong bones. Plus, they’re one of the best sources of protein, which is essential particularly after an intense training session when muscle breakdown occurs the most.
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that contains more protein than any other grain or rice. The grain is so rich in amino acids, that it is considered a complete source of protein, high in lysine, methionine and cysteine—ideal for post-workout meals to help build muscle. It is also high in folate, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, making it a nutrient-packed source of carbohydrates for long-lasting energy levels.
Broccoli is packed with vitamin C that is required for battling free radicals that make you lethargic. It also has proteins and fibres that are apt for the daily nutritional boost and also gives you carotene as well as chromium that regulates blood sugar levels in the body.