Exercising hard means straining your body. Then eat these healthy foods to optimally support him in metabolism
If you do an intense workout, it can happen that you still feel tired days later, are plagued by sore muscles and have less strength. This is due to small micro-tears in your muscles. More water accumulates in the muscle, the muscle fibers are stretched and slight inflammation develops. Don’t panic, it’s normal. But only when your body has recovered from these effects can it perform at full capacity again and you can start the next training session. The good news: Optimal nutrition can shorten your recovery time.
What does regenerative ability mean?
Regeneration refers to the replacement of injured and dead body parts, for example cells and tissue. After exercise, your body regenerates by repairing injured muscle fibers and rebalancing your body. Because sport not only leads to muscle injuries, you also lose important nutrients and fluids that you have to add to your body again. The regeneration aims at the following aspects:
- Rehydration: Increased sweating and faster breathing lead to severe fluid loss during exercise, which you should compensate for immediately after training. Among other things, water serves as a means of transport for nutrients. You should drink at least 1.5 liters of water per day. The recommends drinking an additional 0.5 to 1 liter of water per hour when exercising.
- Filling up carbohydrate stores: Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for athletes and ensure that you can bring full power during training. When exercising, your body often uses glycogen, a storage form of carbohydrates. These carbohydrate stores are exhausted after an intense workout. In order to be able to regenerate more quickly, you should refill these stores quickly, otherwise you will feel weak and lacking in energy.
- Building Muscle: Often one of the desired effects of exercise is building muscle mass. In order to build muscles optimally, you have to supply your muscles with sufficient protein and other nutrients after a set training stimulus. Small injuries can heal faster and the muscles adapt to the training stimuli in the long term.
Which vitamins and minerals help with regeneration?
A balanced and needs-based diet is the basic requirement for rapid regeneration. Natural foods provide you with nutrients that will make you fit again after a workout. The following nutrients are particularly important after training:
- Complex carbohydrates
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B1, B2, B6, C, E
These foods allow you to regenerate faster
The unfamiliar or heavy strain often results in aching muscles. Fortunately, there are foods that can provide your body with the nutrients it needs now. As an athlete, you should definitely include the following foods in your diet:
1. Black currants
Currants contain polyphenols, which are secondary plant substances. These are coloring and flavoring substances that protect the plant from solar radiation and from predators. Polyphenols not only act as free radical scavengers, they can also reduce inflammatory processes, just like vitamins C and E, which are also contained in berries. Incidentally, the darker the berry, the more polyphenols it contains. At the same time, black currants provide important iron. Small micro-injuries lead to micro-bleeding, which puts athletes at an increased risk of iron deficiency. Among other things, the mineral promotes oxygen transport and is an important factor in blood formation and energy production in the mitochondria, the power stations of your cells.
During exercise, your body burns carbohydrates, which you should take up again quickly afterwards. Because the earlier you replenish your glycogen stores, the faster your body regenerates from the stress of training. Oatmeal contains healthy complex carbohydrates that fill you up for a long time and have little effect on your blood sugar level. With a serving of oatmeal you provide your body with the energy it needs and at the same time optimize protein production for muscle building. Oat flakes also contain plenty of magnesium (134 milligrams per 100 grams). The mineral is part of your skeleton and of numerous enzymes in your body. Magnesium activates enzymes that are required for glucose metabolism. As a result, energy cannot be provided without magnesium.
Tip: Oatmeal doesn’t just taste good as muesli with milk or yogurt. Next time, prepare the healthy flakes with orange juice. The vitamin C from the juice promotes the absorption of the iron contained in the oatmeal.
3. Green tea
Green tea not only provides you with fluids, it also stimulates blood circulation. In addition, the contained antioxidants, the so-called catechins, protect your (muscle) cells from oxidative stress. This occurs when there is an imbalance in free radicals and radical scavengers, the antioxidants. Free radicals are highly reactive, aggressive oxygen molecules that arise, among other things, as an intermediate product of your metabolism, but also as a result of unusual and intense stress. The problem: Oxidative stress can damage body cells and increase the risk of numerous diseases.
If you drink one or more cups of green tea after your workout, you are consuming antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. In order for green tea to develop its full effect, however, you should pay attention to a few things when preparing it.
Nuts are little powerhouses that contain loads of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts stimulate fat burning, promote protein biosynthesis and ensure that the protein from the food can be converted into the body’s own protein. If you combine walnuts with a high-quality source of protein, the digestion of the protein is slowed down, which means that you supply your body with important proteins for longer. Walnuts also contain many vitamins and minerals: The vitamin E contained in the nut repairs small damage to the muscles, and potassium and magnesium ensure that your muscles can contract and relax. In addition, potassium is essential for the transmission of stimuli in muscle and nerve cells and for cell growth.
Lean quark contains everything your body needs to regenerate. With 13 grams of protein per 100 grams, it delivers a great portion of high-quality and readily available protein. It is made up of around 80 percent casein and 20 percent whey protein. While casein is slowly absorbed by your body and thus provides you with protein for a long time, whey protein provides quickly available protein. Lean quark is therefore a perfect mix for building muscle.
Quark contains not only a lot of protein, but also plenty of calcium, which you should consume especially after exercising. In terms of quantity, calcium is the most important mineral, more than 90 percent of which is stored in your bones and teeth. As a structural component, calcium is responsible for the firmness of the tissue. A calcium deficiency can reduce the stability of the bones, among other things. However, since calcium is also required for muscle function, including for contraction of the muscles, a deficiency is also noticeable in muscle cramps and muscle tremors. Exercise sessions increase the loss of calcium through sweat, so you should provide your body with sufficient calcium after training.
6. Red beets
If you eat beetroot after exercising, it has positive effects on your body. The beet contains plenty of nitrate, which in your body is first converted to nitrite and then to nitrogen monoxide, an important messenger substance in the metabolism. Among other things, nitric oxide expands the blood vessels and increases the oxygen saturation in the blood. This supplies your organs – including your muscles – with plenty of oxygen and nutrients. With these nutrients, for example, small micro-injuries to the muscle fibers can be repaired more quickly. Beetroot also provides a lot of iron, as well as vitamins B1, B2 and B6, which play an important role in the energy supply of your body.
The faster your body can regenerate, the earlier you can start your next workout. With these foods you supply your body with all the important nutrients and thus ensure that your body is quickly ready for use again.