Nutrients for Rapid Recovery
Exercise is one of the pillars of long-term health and wellness. But during strenuous workouts, whether it’s aerobic exercise or weight training, our cells consume huge amounts of oxygen in a process called oxidation, which can damage cell membranes and impair their ability to function. Muscle soreness, inflammation, and fatigue are all signs of oxidation. Hence, taking the time to recover is essential to our continued health.
Nada Milosavljevic, MD, director of Integrative Health at Mass General Hospital in Boston and a Diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM®), says that proper nutrients can optimize our healing process and help us recover. As an advocate for food as medicine, she believes in going straight to the source for nutrients. Here are five points of focus she recommends when using nutrients for optimal recovery from exercise:
- Antioxidants – One that is especially beneficial for workout recovery, Dr. Milosavljevic says, is quercetin. It can be found in apples, blueberries, and buckwheat herbal tea.
- Anti-inflammatory nutrients– Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory enzyme derived from pineapple and is concentrated in the core of the fruit. We can ingest bromelain either by drinking pineapple juice or eating the fruit.
- Minerals – Dr. Milosavljevic suggests magnesium. It aids muscle recovery and calms the brain, and is found in nuts, like almonds and Brazil nuts; seeds, such as pumpkin seeds and flax, and legumes like beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
- Blood glucose balance – Cinnamon can help us achieve this. Recent studies suggest that it helps with blood sugar control by increasing insulin sensitivity, which allows the body to better perform tissue repair. Researchers have seen benefits with anywhere from 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon. One gram is about is about half a teaspoon, so it doesn’t take much to reap health benefits.
- Hydration – Water, water, water. A woman’s body is about 55 percent water; for men, it’s about 60 percent. We decrease our water stores through perspiration, cellular activity, and metabolism during intense workouts. So, if you want to recover from exercise rapidly, drink up.
The American Board of Physician Specialties® and its Member Board, the ABOIM, champions Dr. Milosavljevic’s focus on using nutrient-rich foods for exercise recovery and healthy living. For more information about the mission of the ABOIM, contact the ABPS today.