Are your muscles tight or tender? Do they feel like taut bands or knotted ropes? When we exercise, our muscles can become tender, creating soreness which can be uncomfortable. Yet, nature may offer some help - certain foods show promise for relaxing tightness and easing discomfort.
The mineral magnesium is known in natural health circles as “the great relaxer.” It’s involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in your body, including muscle and nerve function. Muscles need to contract and relax properly to function well. Magnesium supports the energy production required to do so.
Tart cherries are also a good source of magnesium. However, it’s their powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are of more interest. A few years ago, tart cherries made headlines as an athletic aid. Additionally, they may reduce loss of muscle strength, soreness, and help speed up recovery. Tart cherry juice is the best source, and should be consumed for several days before and after exercise.
Can’t find tart cherries? Beetroot juice is also studied for its potential in the athletic world. It contains dietary nitrates which show potential in boosting athletic performance by increasing blood flow and oxygen to muscles. Beetroot also contains betalains, (pigments that provide its vibrant colour), which may reduce inflammation, aid recovery, and ease muscle tenderness.
Watermelon juice is an alternative if beetroot isn’t to your taste. As well as antioxidants, it contains l-citrulline, an amino acid which may help increase exercise endurance by aiding muscle function. Drinking watermelon juice before and after exercise may reduce muscle soreness. That’s therapy with a delicious flavour!
Turmeric and its active ingredient, curcumin, have been used medicinally for millennia. It has been shown to soothe inflammation and ease pain. Curcumin may reduce the discomfort and muscle injury that can result from exercise. To enhance curcumin’s benefits, add black pepper to your dishes. Look for the additional ingredient, piperine, if using supplements.
Whether you exercise or not, these natural remedies might be worth a trial. They’re safe and tasty and may benefit your muscles and your general wellbeing. If you’d like advice on diet and exercise, we’re happy to help.
Remember, while health supplements and specialised foods can offer benefits, it's important to exercise caution and moderation. Follow the recommended guidelines on supplements and be aware of any potential side effects. It’s best to follow a well-rounded and balanced diet for optimal overall health.
Adam's Back is a team of dedicated complimentary health professionals. Our aim is to support you in finding drug-free solutions for better health.