Why do you get sore muscles anyway?
Muscle soreness occurs after heavy muscular exertion. If you exert your muscles for an unusually long time, for example during sports, on long hikes, or if you carry heavy objects when moving house, the smallest, microscopic tears will appear in the overstressed muscle fibers. Water flows into the fiber through these cracks, causing swelling of the tissue and small inflammations. We notice these muscle fiber injuries as painful, pressure-sensitive sore muscles. The affected muscles are then no longer as efficient as before. Now it’s time for your muscles: regeneration and recovery. Small muscle fiber injuries usually heal on their own after a few days. But if you want to relieve sore muscles and shorten the recovery time, you can achieve great success with the right diet. Some foods are known to be effective against sore muscles.
These are the 4 best foods for sore muscles
1. Beetroot relieves sore muscles
When it comes to nutrients, beetroot is clearly in the premier class of vegetables. The thick tubers are packed with essential vitamins and substances such as potassium, selenium, zinc and phosphorus. In addition to fiber, which is generally beneficial for intestinal health, beetroot also contains components with an antioxidant effect. Such antioxidants bind free radical oxygen compounds that damage our cells. Beetroot contains a particularly large number of antioxidant betalains. This vegetable dye gives the tuber its purple color and also has an anti-inflammatory effect. This benefits your muscles when recovering from intensive sports sessions. Because the microscopic injuries of the muscle fibers, which you perceive painfully as a sore muscle, are repaired more quickly by the betalains of the beetroot. Studies have even confirmed this soothing effect of beetroot on sore muscles. A beetroot smoothie right after exercise can help speed up painful muscle recovery.
2. Coffee reduces pain
According to science, coffee also seems to have a pain-relieving effect. Not only do the flavonoids contained in the drink have an antioxidant effect, i.e. anti-inflammatory and cell-protecting, the caffeine even reduces the perception of pain in people. Researchers had investigated this in a study and administered caffeine supplements to athletes directly before exercise and a few days after exercise. It was found that caffeine intake immediately before a workout increases performance and delays the onset of muscle soreness. The athletes did not find the muscle pain to be very severe in the days following physical exertion. Drinking a little coffee before training is doing your muscles a favour.
3. Ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect
Ginger is rich in nutrients and can supply our body with many important substances such as vitamin C, magnesium, iron, sodium and phosphorus. The sharp taste of the root is triggered by the pungent substances it contains. The most important representative of these stimulants is the gingerol of ginger. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have found that regular consumption of raw or heated ginger can help relieve muscle soreness after excessive exercise. The antioxidant compounds in the hot root help heal the microscopic tears that cause hangovers.
4. Green tea for sore muscles
When muscles are sore, our body needs anti-inflammatory nutrients that help to regenerate irritated muscle fibers. Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help repair damaged muscle fibers. Since green tea also contains caffeine, you can achieve a performance-enhancing and pain-relieving effect with it, similar to coffee.