Why Muscle Repair And Recovery Matters

Every physical activity, from daily work to more intense exercise, requires the effective use of muscles. Sufficient movement stresses the muscle fibers, causing microscopic tears and trauma. The same goes for incisions made on muscle tissue during surgery. To effectively use the muscles again, the damaged fibers must recover and repair after the inflammatory process. Muscle repair is also an essential part of growth for individuals looking to build muscle in the gym, improve athletic performance, or prevent injury. A significant factor in recovery is ensuring the right food is consumed.


Your diet and recovery

After physical activity of any sort, the muscles must be fueled effectively. The right food is essential for several reasons. For starters, the body needs specific nutrients during the repair process. A lack of nutrients increases the chances of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) or intense soreness after physical activity. This pain can limit future performance and increase the chances of injury. Proper nutrition supports the muscles and creates hormones necessary for muscle growth, such as testosterone. The best diet avoids foods that increase inflammation, like processed foods, sugars, and trans fats. Instead, the ideal recovery diet focuses on whole foods that contain the nutrients necessary for recovery. Here are the best food groups to focus on for quick muscle repair and recovery.

Pack on the protein

Muscle growth and maintenance are only possible with amino acids and other compounds. The amino acids are what make up a complete protein source. Protein is a great food group for muscle repair and recovery, especially when consumed immediately after physical activity. The breakdown of muscles is part of a process called muscle protein synthesis. The body also needs new proteins and amino acids for repair and growth. The protein in foods is absorbed into the bloodstream after digestion and goes to the muscles to help this process. Healthy protein sources include red meat, eggs, poultry, and fish. Lentils, beans, and tofu are also great plant-based protein sources.

Carbs aren’t the enemy

A common myth is that eating too many carbohydrates leads to weight gain and other unhealthy problems. Yet, carbohydrates are critical in muscle repair, recovery, and energy use. The muscles use glycogen, the stored fuel for physical activity and recovery. Consuming carbohydrates restores muscle glycogen, reducing cramps and improving future performance. The goal is to avoid as many processed carbs as possible, as those contain sugars that are difficult for the body to digest. The body stores these carbs and sugars as fat, leading to chronic inflammation and certain lifestyle disorders. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are the best carbohydrate sources available.

Healthy fats and recovery

Like protein, healthy fats should be consumed immediately after physical activity for the best results. Essential fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6, can be obtained through food or a supplement. The fats help reduce inflammation and support cardiovascular health, improving muscle repair and recovery. Healthy fats also contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium, which help with muscle repair. Foods high in good fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon.

Diet matters

The right foods optimize recovery, reduce pain, and improve muscle repair. The goal is to find whole foods from trusted sources and consider the timing of consumption. After physical activity, eating a small meal with protein and fats helps with muscle repair. Soon after, have a plate with the correct mix of macros based on a doctor’s or dietitian’s recommendations. These should include a healthy, lean protein source, healthy carbs, and fats. Consistency is the key to long-term health and muscle recovery.

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