Athletes know about sore muscles—the burning sensation during strenuous exercise, which may be related to the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles, and delayed-onset muscle soreness, the kind you get in the days following extreme physical activity. Optimizing recovery from exercise is considered the holy grail of exercise science.
Muscle biopsies of athletes have confirmed that eating blueberries, for example, can significantly reduce exercise-induced inflammation. Studies using cherries show that this anti-inflammatory effect can translate into faster recovery time, reducing the strength loss from excessive bicep curling, and the muscle-soothing effects of berries don’t only work for weight lifters; follow-up studies have shown that cherries can also help reduce muscle pain in long-distance runners and aid in recovery from marathons. Eating two cups of watermelon before intense physical activity may also significantly reduce muscle soreness.
What about oxidative stress? When you use oxygen to burn fuel in your body, free radicals can be produced, just as cars burning fuel produce combustion byproducts. This happens even if you’re just idling, living your day-to-day life, but if you rev things up, start exercising, and really start burning fuel, can increasing intake of antioxidant-rich foods help athletes?
Indeed, use antioxidant-rich foods to douse the free radicals. Whether it’s about training longer or living longer, the science seems clear. Your quality and quantity of life improves when you choose whole plant foods—and not only for athletes.
Learn more about the effects of a special type of fiber found in baker’s, brewer’s, and nutritional yeasts on maintaining white blood cell counts after exercise and feelings of tenseness, fatigue, confusion, and anger, as well as the impacts of beet juice on performance and energy production.
It seems sports news programs are always talking about steroids and other illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Why hasn’t anyone mentioned these mighty and perfectly legit performance-enhancing vegetables? Beets me.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
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