By Mike Roussell, PhD
Recovering from a tough running workout requires more than downing a bottle of Gatorade.
After pounding the pavement, the foods you choose play a key role in helping your body bounce back. Here are three unexpected eats that can help you replenish nutrients and reduce inflammation post-run. A bonus: They’re perfect fall foods, too.
Often relegated to festive decorations and pies, pumpkin is actually a recovery superfood for runners.
It’s rich in lutein, a powerful carotenoid that helps safeguard our eyes from the sun’s rays and also plays a pivotal role in stimulating muscle cells so they stay robust and resilient after the miles pile up.
ENJOY IT! Try blending canned pumpkin in a smoothie or mix with greek yogurt and sprinkle with pumpkin spice seasoning. Or, roast pumpkin chunks in the oven and enjoy 1-2 cups with quinoa and grilled/sliced sirloin.
A large cup of freshly brewed coffee after your workout provides powerful antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation. The caffeine also helps alleviate muscle pain and soreness by blocking adenosine receptors in your muscles.
ENJOY IT! Skip the coffee as a pre-run pick-me-up, especially if you’re running in the morning. Instead, have it after your run, accelerating your body’s ability to heal and repair (while leaving you ready for the workday too).
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, so having them post-run helps replenish depleted energy stores and fuels muscle repair. The fats provide an essential energy source, allowing glucose to be directed towards rebuilding glycogen (your muscle’s energy stores).
Avocados also have 10x the potassium compared to leading sports drinks. Potassium is an essential electrolyte to replenish after a hard run.
ENJOY IT! Blend half an avocado in your post-run smoothie or mash it with salt and lime juice to have as a side to a grilled chicken breast and rice.
AUTHOR BIO: Mike Roussell, PhD
Mike Roussell, PhD, is an author, speaker, and nutrition strategist who has spent more than 20 years transforming complex nutritional concepts into practical habits that change lives.
His clients have included NBA all-stars, tech execs, and TV personalities.