Your post-workout nutrition is not something to take lightly. That’s because what you put in your body after hitting the shower can play a huge role in helping your body recover more quickly from a robust workout. And the quicker and better you bounce back, the greater the fitness gains you’ll attain from your time in the water, pounding the pavement and perched atop a saddle. It turns out that spaghetti and protein powder aren’t the only recovery foods you should have in your arsenal. These items have research-proven benefits for athletes who want to recharge like a champ.
After a calorie-crushing workout it’s a good idea to reach for a handful of dried cherries. A plethora of research has demonstrated that the payload of antioxidants in tart cherries—the type of cherry most often sold in dried form—can improve training recovery by helping to reduce exercise-induced muscle inflammation. It’s thought that the antioxidants in the sour fruit work to lessen oxidative stress in the body brought on by a spirited workout and, in turn, reduce muscular damage so you can run your butt off again sooner.
Need to know: The fresh cherries you see year round in the produce aisle are almost always the sweet version, which don’t have the proven post-training benefits. You’ll want to keep a bag of dried tart cherries in your pantry and maybe even tart cherry juice in your fridge to reap the biggest bang for your buck. If you are concerned about added sugars, an online search will reveal brands offering unsweetened dried cherries.
Eat this, recover better: Toast up a thick slice of bread, add a slice of cream cheese and top with a generous amount of dried cherries.