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What you eat or drink after hitting the gym may just be the most vital food you eat the whole day. But, it is one of the difficult chores to make a good choice of post-workout foods.
During the workout, glucose stored in your muscles as glycogen is used up as an energy source. Repeated contraction of the muscles may lead to muscle fiber wear and tear. That is why, after working out, your muscles feel weak. You feel like resting for a while. It is your body’s mode of letting you know that you have no energy and need to refuel. Therefore, you need to eat after working out.
Carbohydrates and proteins are the two vital things which your body needs just after exercise. As this is the point when your blood circulates the best. If your objective is to build up muscle, try to eat no less than 30-35g of carbohydrates and 30g of protein after 15 minutes of your workout. But if you are simply trying to remain fit or shed some pounds, you can take as much time as is needed. Then eat within 45 minutes or an hour after your exercise.
Here are the best post-workout foods to fuel your body which reload your drained muscles after an intense work.
1. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is a great source of carbohydrates. It contains double the amount of protein as compared to regular yogurt. “Mix it with cereal or fruit,” comments Dr. Louise Burke, who is the head of Sports Nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport and co-author of The Complete Guide to Food for Sports Performance: Peak Nutrition for Your Sport. As fresh berries pack many micronutrients.
These micronutrients can help your body to fight against muscle soreness. It also helps improve satiety levels.
2. Fruits and veggies
Fruits and veggies such as apples, pears, bananas, peaches, plums, watermelon, carrots, scallions, muskmelon, passion fruit, tomatoes, beetroot, and peas are great to add in your post-workout meal. They also contain enzymes which can help your body break down nutrients. Then supply these nutrients to your tired muscles.
For instance, pineapple is known to have many anti-inflammatory properties to help recover your muscles. Kiwi helps in digestion and also break down amino acids. “Plus, fruit offers many antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins,” Burke says. Fruits are also loaded with a lot of healthy, easily digestible carbohydrates. The WHO recommends consuming 4-5 types of veggies and fruits per day.
3. Whole-grain breakfast cereal
Cereals are one of the best options throughout your day. You can take them either in the morning for breakfast, or later as a snack. Try to choose a high-fiber, high-protein, low-sugar cereal.
It is perfect for reloading the energy stores of your muscles. You can also make it more of a significant snack by adding dairy like milk or yogurt. Is there any other alternative? Oatmeal, which possesses many carbohydrates and fiber. It can also be topped with a high-protein ingredient such as almond butter.
You can take them the way you like either over easy, poached, scrambled, sunny side up, or simply as hard-boiled. Eggs contain protein and many other nutrients. They’re a versatile food which you can take at any time of the day. Either serve them as a good-fat-rich avocado, with a slice of toast, some peppers, and onions. Eggs contain all the amino acids and the branched amino acids. These amino acids can help to reduce the muscle harm of your body.
5. Sandwich wraps
“Wraps of whole grains are loaded with healthy carbohydrates,” says Burke. Try to make yourself a turkey or chicken sandwich with a bowl of soup on the side. This is a predominantly great meal if you work out during lunch break.
“Wraps are easily portable so you can eat them on the way back to your work,” she adds. If you take a salad after the gym, make sure to add some grains. “You require at least 1/2 cup of whole grains. So, you can add some brown rice, quinoa, beans, or pasta,” says Villacorta.
6. Chocolate milk
Water will be enough to hydrate you after a light exercise. But if you go for a tiring and tough workout then drink chocolate milk like a five-year-old kid. ‘Chocolate milk is a great choice for recovery’ according to sports nutritionist Heidi Skolnik, M.S., C.D.N., F.A.C.S.M.
The chocolate milk can supply your body with a lot of fluid and two major components; proteins and carbohydrates. Researchers found that chocolate milk reestablishes your muscle glycogen. It can also rehydrate your body just like Gatorade. However, to truly sweeten the deal, it also packs with some calcium, whey protein, and healthy fats. To acquire a quick recovery, you can add also toss little bits of sweet potato in the drink.
This dish is especially recommended to morning trainers. It is an incredible comfort nourishment. By adding some fruits, almonds, any natural sweetener, you can get a new version of oatmeal. It gives a perfect pair of proteins and carbohydrates. It is one of the best choices for those who want to build mass and also for those who want to lose weight.
8. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is another great choice to refuel your body after a workout. It is very low in calories and great for refilling the glycogen stores. It also keeps you satiated for a long period. This energy source also has cancer-fighting properties, flushes out toxins from the body, and helps in weight loss.
Those who are on a weight loss mission or looking to control their blood sugars have some boiled sweet potatoes rather than baked ones. As baking may cause a spike in your blood sugars.
They are the high-calorie fruits. But avocados are also loaded with some dietary fiber, healthy fats, and vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6. Researchers also believe that eating avocado might help you manage weight problems.
It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and leads to healthy aging. Have about one-fourth of an avocado or add it to salads/smoothies/toasts to attain recharged post workout.
10. Green tea
It is a new version of the green juice. Actually, green tea is a juice which contains many powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants aid in fat processing. It also fights out free radicles which are induced by your exercise. These antioxidants also help boost the immunity of your body and reduce muscle damage caused by workout.
These radicles can cause muscle soreness and irritation. Green tea also possesses many other functions. Like, it helps to treat chronic inflammatory conditions such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and chronic illness
Tuna is a great source of healthy fats and protein. One ounce of preserved tuna contains around 78.7 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 7.1 g of protein. It also helps decrease mercury toxicity. Consuming a piece of fish with some dark leafy greens and some healthy fats is a great yummy post-workout meal.