What to Eat to Prevent Sore Muscles

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Sore muscles are unavoidable if you participate in heavy activity. Sore muscles are indicators that you have worked your muscles to the point that they need to rebuild. There are foods you can eat to help the process succeed and succeed quicker. Eating enough protein and potassium will allow for your muscles to repair and keep from cramping, while drinking enough water will allow the process to run smoothly. You cannot get rid of muscle pain completely until your muscles are repaired, but you can alleviate it. In the meantime, take an anti-inflammatory aspirin.

Grilled chicken breast
(Liv Friis-Larsen/iStock/Getty Images)

Muscles need protein to build themselves back up, and so the sooner you get some protein into you after an intense workout the better. Recovery speed depends on the amount of protein the muscle has to work with, the less protein, the longer the recovery and the sorer the muscle. When you use your muscles for physical activity, they are broken down, and that is why they are sore. In order to grow stronger they repair themselves following each workout. To repair properly and quickly, muscles need amino acids that are found in protein. This will not only repair your muscles, but will help them get stronger. Good sources of protein include all meat: poultry, pork, beef and fish. While nuts, beans, seeds and dairy products re good sources of protein, studies have shown that animal protein helps muscles recover much faster. Eating carbohydrates along with a protein following a workout will allow your muscles to repair themselves yet even faster.

Grilled chicken breast
Liv Friis-Larsen/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you are an big exerciser or not, if you have little to no potassium in your diet, the chances of getting sore muscles from everyday activity is high. Muscle usage builds lactic acid, which can cause cramping and soreness in muscles and lungs. Athletes more so than others need to increase their potassium intake as potassium is lost both through sweat through muscle burning. Though sports drinks and gels are considered replacements for electrolytes and nutrients lost through physical activity, they are insufficient sources of potassium. For every hour of hard exercise (such as an hour-long run), one banana or a cup of orange juice has enough potassium to replace what is lost. Other great sources of potassium are avocados, apricots, beets, melons, potatoes, raisins, dairy and squash.

Whole and halved avocado
Francesco Dibartolo/iStock/Getty Images

As obvious as it sounds, drinking enough water can play a major role in alleviating muscle soreness after a workout – or after a busy day moving! Dehydration is the most common disease among humans, and it is easily avoidable. Muscles are made up of 80% water, but if their moisture is not replenished, then chances are they will be sore, fatigued and not apt to operate at full potential. Muscles generate a by-product during activity, and therefore a sufficient amount of water is needed before, during and after activity to help keep the muscles flushed. How much water is enough? Drink as much as you can; some sports trainers recommend ¾ oz of water for every pound of body weight.

Woman drinks water after exercising
AmmentorpDK/iStock/Getty Images

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