While getting fit comes with tons of benefits for your body and health, it's not always sunshine and rainbows. Any physical activity puts you at the risk of injury, especially if you lack training, experience, or don't take the time to recover from periods of intense activity.
As you'll see , there are several ways you can reduce the risks of injury through preparation and aftercare. Exercising with care means that you're less likely to get hurt, but as experience will show, sometimes even the most careful athlete can get injured.
When that happens, don't leave your recovery up to fate. There are things you can do to make healing from injuries faster and less painful. Below, we've listed a few foods and supplements that can help you do just that.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their role in improving cardiovascular health. That's not all they're good for, however— omega-3s have been found to reduce inflammation, making them key players in recovery. In fact, research is currently being done on omega-3 fatty acids' beneficial effects on brain trauma recovery.
Sources of omega-3s include nuts and fatty fish like anchovy, salmon, and mackerel. If you're looking to go the supplement route, have a 5-star certification from the International Fish Oil Standards. They're also gluten-free and non-GMO.
Zinc is especially important in the function of your immune system and metabolism. In wound healing and injury recovery, zinc plays an essential part in each step of the process: from membrane repair and blood coagulation to immune defense, and finally to scar formation.
Typically, most adults meet the recommended daily allowance of zinc through a well-balanced diet. However, if you have dietary restrictions or have difficulty with zinc absorption, you might want to try a supplement. , and their zinc picolinate is more absorbable and free from common allergens. All of their products are tested for quality and safety, so you know you're getting your money's worth.
An often overlooked aspect of wellness and healing is your gut. A strong and healthy digestive system is actually crucial for your immune defense. It's also important for absorption: if your digestive system isn't working correctly, your body might not be able to process and use all of the nutrients necessary for recovery.
Probiotics are fairly easy to find both in food and supplement form. Popular probiotic food choices are yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi. In supplementation, some probiotic powders might not be as shelf-stable, so you might want to . Not only are these gummies good for your digestive health, but they also help manage blood sugar levels, which can help with healing wounds.
Vitamin D is well known as a mood booster, but did you know it's good news for ? Research has found that higher levels of vitamin D in the body results in less muscle fatigue and better recovery after exercise. This is great news for rest days and post-competition fatigue.
You can get vitamin D from the sun, fatty fish, or fortified foods. In terms of supplements, , and tested free from 125 herbicides. It also includes nutritious ingredients like brown rice and carrots, so you get a healthy, farm-to-tablet supplement with no harmful additives.
Finally, if there's one thing you have to add to your diet to help with recovery from injury or workout soreness, it's protein. Protein is essential because it can strengthen, repair, and build muscle. It helps speed up muscle , whether it's after a regular workout or a more serious injury.
There are tons of available protein sources out there, from whole food sources like meat and legumes to supplementation. Whey protein in particular has been found to help athletes with recovery from heavy exercise and strength training. because it's budget-friendly and easy to find. Not only does it have 24 grams of protein per serving, it also has 5.5 grams of BCAAs to help boost recovery even further.