10 Best Foods for Muscle Recovery

best foods for muscle recovery

Whether the goal is rockin’ summertime body, impressing the family around the holidays, or simply self-improvement, reaching any workout goal is tough. Actually getting to the gym is a hurdle, but the hardest part is usually the recovery period.

Ever wonder, “what are the best foods for muscle recovery?” Let’s take a look!

Best Foods For Muscle Recovery

Any intense workout can leave muscles sore and tired, making daily activities a struggle. So many people end up on the workout rebound.

Fortunately, there are ways to boost muscle healing and kickstart the recovery. The foods that are eaten after an intense workout can actually make a huge difference in rebuilding lost muscle, especially combined with stretching, etc.

Check out these 10 best foods for muscle recovery.

Nuts & Seeds

Vegan or Vegetarian? Nuts and seeds are perfect for the strict dieters. These perfect little plant-based snacks are full of protein to help with those sore muscles.

They’re rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps fight inflammation (aka soreness). Pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are some of the best for after workout snacks. Flax seeds can easily be hidden in any workout shake.

They also come packed with electrolytes and zinc for extra hydration and immunity support.

Fill up a ziplock and get on the road.


After an intense workout, you can expect to have some free radical damage to your muscles. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants.

Antioxidants are number one when it comes to combating free radicals in the body. Take these little babies as a pre and post workout snack.

Try throwing them in that protein shake for an extra boost. They’re both flavorful and super healthy.

Tart Cherries

Research shows that tart cherries help boost muscle recovery times, reduce after workout fatigue, and relieve workout muscle pain. Some studies show that they even help boost overall performance.

Whether to workout is running, lifting, or even aquatic aerobics, these bite-sized fruits pack a punch.

Pop a few whole, spiced up some oatmeal, or try them in juice form. Just remember to spit out the seeds!


It’s a superfood alright, spinach is packed full of antioxidants, protein, vitamins A and K, potassium, and so much more. One cup of spinach contains only 7 calories.

Not only is spinach great for muscle health, it’s also great for skin and hair rejuvenation, and promotes bone health. Spinach is the perfect superfood for someone who may be trying out a keto diet.

Adding some greenery to the diet can never go wrong. Enjoy a tossed spinach salad for a light, energy packed lunch. Try spicing it up with some dried cherries and nuts.


Salmon is an impressive superfood. This fatty fish is full of nutrients and holds many health benefits. Salmon is packed with protein, antioxidants, and tons of vitamins.

It can also help regulate weight. The high concentration of protein is not only great for muscle rehabilitation, but it can also help control the hormones that regulate appetite, so you feel full longer.

Also, salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3 helps promote weight loss and decrease the belt size.

Be sure to eat protein within 45 minutes of a workout to ensure adequate recovery.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates for promoting muscle growth and a quick energy boost.

Sweet potatoes are also rich in potassium, which is essential for any workout routine. When the body is low on potassium, it breaks down muscles to release more potassium. This is also a primary cause of leg cramps.

Keeping potassium levels high is a great way to help prevent muscle deterioration and increase muscle growth.

Potassium can also help with heart health. A lot of people has a poor potassium: sodium ratio. That’s typically a result of all the refined foods in the world today. Lowing the sodium and increasing the potassium is important for blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Sweet potatoes are the best way to do that.

Green Tea

Green tea is easy to make and can be modified to anyone’s taste buds. The leafy green tea contains something called tannins. These tannins act as astringents, which assist in shrinking tissues and contracting structural tissues in the skin and mucosa.

Some studies say that using green tea supplements can increase the body’s metabolic rate by 3%, helping to melt body fat like butter. About 3 glasses a day is all that it takes.

Green tea also has small amounts of caffeine, less than coffee has. The caffeine mixed with the natural thiamine in green tea helps boost the body’s performance while keeping the mind relaxed.


No, this doesn’t mean go out and by a chocolate bar. Cacao is the bean that chocolate is made from, but it is NOT chocolate.

Cacao powder is made by extracting the fatty inside from the bean with as little heat as possible. Cacao powder is where the most antioxidants can be found.

Try sprinkling cacao on a banana for a sweet, healthy dessert. Throw a few nuts and blueberries on top for a perfect muscle building snack.

Manuka Honey

Honey is as natural as it gets, and it’s super easy to incorporate into any diet.

Honey is an incredible antibacterial. The honey contains hydrogen peroxide, a powerful disinfectant. On top of that, it contains a compound called methylglyoxal. This compound packs a real punch against bacteria.

It helps protect against E-coli and other tough to kill bugs. The best part is that it is known to help speed up the body’s natural healing processes.

Faster healing means getting back to the gym and faster muscle building.


Okay, this one is kind of a given, but it’s easy to overlook. Water is the most important nutrient for the body. Without water, there is no muscle building, there is no muscle function.

Lack of water can cause an increase in injuries like pulled muscles and strains. The recommended water dose is eight 8-ounce glasses per day.

Remember that the more the body sweats, the more water it loses. The health benefits of drinking water daily are unlimited.

Ready? Set? Recover!

All in all, no matter how much the body exercises, it loses muscle mass. The body has natural ways to rebuild. These are the best foods for muscle recovery, but they are just ways to naturally boost that process and help speed things along.

Don’t think that without these foods (except water!) that the body just won’t be able to rebuild its muscles. The extra vitamins and nutrients that these foods bring are perfect for any workout beginner, or even the most dedicated athletes.

Ready to train for the next triathlon? Stock the kitchen with these superfoods, and don’t forget to read up on some pre-triathlon stretching techniques!