Best Foods for Muscle Recovery

One of the most classic fitness lines you’ve probably heard is “Feel the burn,” stemming from the slight burning sensation you get in your muscles as you’re working out. While a little bit of that can feel good — a sign of a good workout — when it gets severe it can make exercising a pain. As you likely know, the food you eat is just as big a part of your fitness regimen as the exercises you do. If you’re looking to minimize that severe muscle pain, you need to eat the right foods to nourish your muscles as they recover. With that in mind, here are some of the best foods you can eat for muscle recovery. Looking for a gym in Bethlehem? Come to Steel Fitness!

-Blueberries and Cherries

Studies have found that blueberries and cherries are packed with nutrients that help to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), so they’re a perfect snack to munch on after your workout. Not only are they a good source of antioxidants and vitamin C, but cherries also have an added bonus of melatonin. Why is that important? Your body needs rest in order to properly recover following a workout. Melatonin helps you sleep, which is a positive benefit for insomniacs and easy sleepers alike.
Don’t like blueberries or cherries? Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and plums can also help out your muscles. An important thing to keep in mind if you make your protein shakes with cow milk is that the proteins within it may cause issues with your body’s antioxidant activity. It’s a good idea to wait about an hour after you’ve had a whey protein shake before eating your berries to get the most out of them.

-Leafy Greens

A good salad with leafy greens is full of nutrients that help improve your metabolism, so they’re great to eat when your fitness goals include losing weight. Additionally, they feature compounds that help to reduce inflammation, which is what is causing that burning pain in your muscles. They also give you low-glycemic energy, which means you won’t have to deal with a spike in your blood sugar. There’s never a bad time to eat these greens, because they’re high in good carbs, low in calories, and high in overall nutrients. Avoid fatty salad dressings, as they are often loaded with sodium and sugar.

-High-Glycemic Fruits and Starches

Maybe you’re looking to replenish your muscles’ glycogen storage and rehydrate. If so, high-glycemic fruits like watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi are perfect for this. They also contain a lot of the nutrients our body needs, so they’ll help you out a lot, along with antioxidant compounds that help promote tissue repair and recovery. Starches like potatoes are another great option, as they have a bit of every nutrient we need. Mix it up with some squash or sweet potatoes if you get tired of your standard spuds.


Few things are as good for muscle recovery as the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. This is because they improve your body’s cellular signaling and help reduce inflammation. While fish oil supplements can be convenient, actually eating the fish will likely have more effect, thanks to the additional protein and nutrients that supplements don’t include. Cod and salmon are both ideal choices for reducing inflammation and recovery, but other fish can fit the bill as well.


As a good source of omega-6 fats, almonds are exceptionally good at aiding with the recovery process, especially when it comes to high-intensity exercises like HIIT. They have the added benefit of improving energy use and antioxidant capacity. While almonds are one of the best options, other nuts such as Brazil nuts and walnuts are great thanks to their nutrient- and mineral-rich content.

There are many more foods that are great to eat to help your muscles recover after a workout, but we hope this list acts as a jumping-off point for you. Your diet impacts your fitness just as much as the workout you choose, so it’s important to pay attention to what you eat and how it affects you. If you’re looking for a locally owned gym that cares about your success, look no further than Steel Fitness Riverport. We’re here to help you reach your goals. Call us today to learn how you can get a free 3-day all-access pass!

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