Whether you’re working out to lose weight, build muscle, or energize your day, your results will rely on the type of fuel you put into your body. With that in mind, you may put a lot of emphasis on your pre-workout meals, but did you know what you eat after working out is just as important? Superfoods are a class of regular, everyday foods that happen to be extremely nutritious, and eating the right superfoods after your workout can help you achieve your fitness goals. If you’re still unsure of the relationship between superfoods and fitness, here are seven reasons you might want to eat some after your next workout.
1. Reducing Soreness and Inflammation
Some superfoods, like berries and leafy greens, are high in antioxidants. At the molecular level, antioxidants protect individual cells from oxidative stress. This can benefit your exercise routine by reversing inflammation and promoting healing, which reduces the time you need to recover between workout sessions.
2. Boosting Energy
When you don’t get adequate nutrients, you can feel tired and lose energy more quickly. In this case, superfoods are useful because they are packed with vital micronutrients to keep your body moving. If energy is a concern, choose superfoods that are high in carbohydrates, such as bananas, quinoa, or lentils.
3. Building Muscle
You can’t build muscle without adequate protein, but there are only so many protein shakes you can drink in a day. Fortunately, there are many plant-based superfoods that are high in protein, such as chia seeds, kale, broccoli, and legumes. These types of foods are ideal post-workout snacks because they help your body repair and rebuild its muscles.
4. Replacing Lost Fluids
Most people sweat when they exercise, leaving them slightly less hydrated than before. To return your body to optimum function, it’s necessary to replenish your fluids by drinking water, especially if you’ve engaged in an intense activity like hot yoga or infrared fitness. Alternatively, you can rehydrate by loading up on water-rich fruits such as watermelon, grapes, and apples. Not only does this hydrate you, but it’s more exciting than plain water and provides other key nutrients, too.
5. Absorbing Nutrients
Superfoods that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals allow your body to process food and absorb nutrients more efficiently. For maximum nutrient absorption, pair antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables with healthy fats, such as a salad with vinaigrette, guacamole, and carrots, or yogurt and berries.
6. Aiding Digestion
To absorb all these nutrients effectively, your digestive system must be in tip-top shape. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and lacto-fermented vegetables help maintain the intestinal gut flora that drives digestion. Meanwhile, prebiotic-rich foods like tropical fruits, legumes, and whole grains will “feed” the good bacteria in your gut and provide additional digestive support.
7. Curbing Hunger
Have you ever eaten a whole bag of chips only to feel hungrier than before? Hunger is a signal to your brain that your body needs nutrients, even if the stomach is full. By eating a diet rich in superfoods, you are consuming a higher amount of vital nutrients that will help keep you satisfied for longer, curb cravings, and help you maintain your weight and fitness goals.