Recover Faster with Berries
Decrease Inflammation and Recover Faster with Berries
Inflammation is the body’s way of healing or fighting off an infection. This can be beneficial initially, but if the inflamed state is continued longer than needed then the inflammation can cause pain and decrease performance for athletes. Exercise will increase the body’s inflammation in response to intense exercise. Through diet, and rest, the inflammation can be reduced so that further damage can be prevented.
Free radicals are also created with intense exercise. These free radicals can cause damage to cells that contributes to the inflammation. Long-term exercise can help the body adapt to the inflammation and free radicals by creating its own antioxidant defense. Another way of helping the situation or to provide more of a safeguard would be to consume fruits that are high in antioxidants. Some of these fruits include cherries, blueberries, and pomegranates. These fruits can potentially help reduce inflammation and help fight off free radicals after a strenuous workout. Consumption of these fruits is great not only for their antioxidant properties, but also for their carbohydrate source. After long strenuous exercise our glycogen stores are low, and we need to replenish them as soon as we can after our workouts to help us recover faster.
Here are a few ways to include these fruits in our post-workout meal:
1. Make a smoothie and mix in frozen or fresh cherries, blueberries, or pomegranate. Add some whey protein to make it an even more powerful post-workout beverage.
2. Mix the fruits into some low-fat Greek yogurt
3. Whole Grain cereal with low-fat milk and add in any of the mentioned fruits
4. Add dried berries to some trail mix and eat as a snack throughout the day
Foods that should be avoided that can possibly lead to more inflammation: foods high in saturated and trans-fats. (Eating burgers and fries at a fast food restaurant may not be the greatest choice when trying to prevent inflammation.)
By consuming higher antioxidant foods, our bodies should be able to fight off inflammation more effectively. Also eating more fruits will help athletes replenish glycogen stores, consume more fiber, and obtain more healthy vitamins.
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian for Ben Hogan Sports Medicine and serves as the sports dietitian for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, FC Soccer Dallas, Jim McClean Golf School, Texas Christian University Athletics, and University of Texas at Arlington Athletics. In addition, she is an adjunct professor and dietetic intern preceptor for Texas Woman’s University, Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington and is a state media representative for the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. . She received her Bachelor of Science degree in speech communications from Texas Christian University and Masters in Exercise and Sports Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.