7 Foods That Can Help with Sore Muscles
Oh, New Years. Each one brings a new spark of hope for the goals we didn’t get to accomplish the year prior. We begin our list again, which most likely looks like the list we started with last year and the year before that. (This doesn’t necessarily mean you gave up on your goal. Life happens; it gets in the way. But goals are meant to stick around forever.) Mine begins with: Goal number one – be healthy. For me this includes continuing my exercise regimen and eating habits. For some this may include eating organic, following the food pyramid, cutting certain foods out of your diet, or starting each day with a trip to the gym. If you are just starting at the gym, have been going to the gym for a while, have a strenuous job, or just do daily activities that make your muscles sore, you can eat certain foods to help alleviate the pain!
Through trial and error of eating these foods myself, and after doing some research on what kinds of vitamins and minerals help our bodies repair themselves, I have found the two biggest factors are Protein and Potassium. Protein works with our bodies to aid in cell repair and cell additions. This is why body builders love protein. Potassium works with our bodies by aiding in muscle and tissue repair. It is also essential in helping our skeletal and muscular systems move smoothly. I will also include the nutritional value of Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Niacin (B3). Zinc is found in every part of our body and is highly involved in cell division. Vitamin C helps flush our bodies of lactic acid (which is sometimes the cause of sore muscles), as well as repairing collagen. Vitamin E increases our blood circulation which aids in the flush of unwanted toxins in our bodies. Niacin (also known as Vitamin B3) dilates our blood vessels to aid in the flush that other vitamins provide.
Counting down from seven, here is my list of the top foods that include a good amount of these vitamins and nutrients that help with sore muscles:
(Please note that all of these measurements were found via www.authoritynutrition.com. All nutritional facts displayed here are based on a serving of 150 g.)
7) Red Bell Pepper
This sweet and delicious pepper lands itself on my list based on its relatively high potassium content. In just one cup (150 g) of uncooked red bell pepper there is a whopping 315 mg of Potassium. You will also find stationed in your sweet pepper 1.5 g of Protein, 0.37 mg of Zinc, 190 mg of Vitamin C, 2.35 mg of Vitamin D, and 1.46 mg of Niacin. Red bell peppers are delicious additions to fajitas, salads, wraps, and can be thoroughly enjoyed dipped in hummus (which is my preference).
I’m currently enjoying some pickled beets as I write this section. I love them. They are packed with potassium and some protein. Beets have a nutritional value close to those of bananas (which you’ll see in a minute). In one cup (150 g) of raw beets you’ll find: 442 mg of Potassium, 2.2 g of Protein, 0.48 mg of Zinc, 6.66 mg of Vitamin C, 0.05 mg of Vitamin E, and 0.45 mg of Niacin. I love eating beets on my salads, although I prefer them pickled and out of a can. I once went through a phase of eating a can of pickled beets a day, and guess what? I was hardly ever sore.
Look how close I put bananas to beets! I spent a solid ten minutes trying to decide which number each deserved. Alas, bananas earn the higher spot on my list because in one cup (150 g) of raw banana there is 537 mg of Potassium. They also contain 1.6 g of Protein, 0.23 mg of Zinc, 13 mg of Vitamin C, 0.15 mg of Vitamin E, and 1 mg of Niacin. I will also admit to going through a banana phase in my freshman year of college. My current roommate called me a monkey. She was right, of course, and I still enjoy bananas daily with Sunflower Butter (added protein!).
You know that stuff Popeye used to eat to grow strong instantly? Well that was spinach. I feel like spinach has a gross connotation, much like brussels sprouts, but I swear it’s not that bad. It’s even delicious if prepared properly. Spinach actually has the second highest potassium content per 150 g (five cups) on this list. However it finds itself at number four for other reasons. Here is the nutritional content for five cups of spinach: 837 mg of Potassium, 1 g of Protein, 0.8 mg of Zinc, 42 mg of Vitamin C, 3 mg of Vitamin E, and 1.1 mg of Niacin. Toss some in your salad, on your sandwich, or make it the star of your dinner as your vegetable for the night!
“It’s an avocado! Thanks!” If you haven’t seen the toddler who receives an avocado for his birthday, you are missing out. (This is what I’m referencing.) We should all act this excited when faced with this fatty, delicious fruit. In one cup (150 g) of avocado you can find: 728 mg of Potassium, 3 g of Protein, 0.96 mg of Zinc, 15 mg of Vitamin C, 3.11 mg of Vitamin E, and 2.61 mg of Niacin. Living in Southern California, it’s super easy to find these marvelous fruits year round; maybe not in other parts of the country. My boyfriend and I love to eat them with some sea salt, pepper, lemon juice, and Valentina Hot Sauce. *drool*
Canned tuna, that is. I’m not a fish eater myself, but based on the nutritional value in 8 oz (one cup) of Solid White Albacore Canned Tuna, this deserved a spot on my top seven list. As well as coming in second place, Tuna finds itself in number one (on this list that is) for protein! It has 44 g of Protein in just 8 oz. Confession: I only looked at the nutritional value for this item based on the StarKist can. With that being said, I found that with this high amount of protein, tuna also provided 580 mg of Potassium. Yes the potassium is lower than much of the other foods on this list, but remember that protein is vital in aiding your muscle regrowth as well! My mom and dad love to make delicious tuna salad and put it on bread.
These are among my favorite snacks. They are fun to eat and delicious. There are different kinds of soybeans, but my favorite is edamame. In one cup (150 g) of boiled soybeans there is: 885.8 mg of Potassium, 28.6 g of Protein, 1.98 mg of Zinc, 2.29 mg of Vitamin C, 0.6 mg of Vitamin E, and 0.69 mg of Niacin. These have a high protein AND a high potassium content! Best of both worlds lands itself at number one on my list. I prefer to eat them plain with a little bit of sea salt, but they are also delicious in salads, soups, and can even be blended into a hummus-like consistency. You could even try tofu! Freaky little white blob, yet totally delicious.
This concludes my list of foods for sore muscles. Make sure to be mindful of your body and listen to what it needs when it comes to muscle soreness. Sometimes eating the right foods won’t completely help; make sure to stretch, drink tons of water, and rest when needed. Taking a daily multi-vitamin wouldn’t hurt either! Keep pushing on with your goals, friends! We can do it.
Please share with us what you eat to relieve those sore muscles; we can learn about more delicious foods to help us feel better!