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The 12 Best Muscle Recovery Foods And Drinks


When it comes to optimizing muscle recovery after intense workouts or physical activity, nutrition plays a vital role. Consuming the right foods can help replenish energy stores, repair damaged muscle tissue, and promote muscle growth and adaptation.

That's why understanding the best foods for muscle recovery is essential for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone looking to enhance their muscle repair process.

By supplying the body with the necessary nutrients, these foods support the recovery and rebuilding of muscles, allowing individuals to bounce back stronger and more efficiently.

In this article, we will explore the top foods that are known to aid in muscle recovery, providing you with the knowledge to make informed dietary choices and optimize your post-workout nutrition.

What Is Muscle Recovery?

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Recovery, as stated by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, is complex. Along with getting some shut-eye, recuperation time should be spent increasing muscle mass, decreasing inflammation, and giving muscular discomfort a chance to subside. Good diet also aids the healing process.

Throughout this time, your body may heal the "damage" it sustained throughout your exercises. It's also when your muscles grow (but not from weightlifting). During recovery, your body is able to return to equilibrium, restoring normal levels of temperature, hydration, and stress in preparation for your next rigorous workout.

The 12 Best Muscle Recovery Foods And Drinks

Many meals offer nutrients that might aid in recovery after a strenuous resistance training session. These muscle recovery meals and muscle recovery liquids can assist replenish your energy supply and rehydrate your system.


About 18 grams of protein, which helps build muscle, may be found in a 3-ounce portion of the fatty fish.

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, both of which are abundant in salmon, have been linked to decreased inflammation and lessened exercise-induced muscle injury.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to minimize muscular soreness and enhance strength and power production, and the suggested amount for males 19 and older is 1.6 grams; however, other experts say that if you engage in intensive exercise (running, jumping rope), you should aim for closer to 6 grams per day.

Tater Tot

According to Susan Greene, an ACE-certified Nutrition Specialist, Personal Trainer, and Health Coach, snacking on this tuber is a fantastic method to keep muscle tissue healthy after an exercise.

Vitamin C and copper, found in sweet potatoes, help maintain supple muscle fibers and promote muscular development and regeneration. They are high in complex carbohydrates, which restore energy, as she puts it.

You just need to remember these three words: sweet potato fries. Make baked (not fried) fries by peeling and slicing orange potatoes, then tossing with seasonings.

Milk Chocolate

According to Gately, "chocolate milk is a delicious and easy recovery snack." Milk has all nine necessary amino acids, making it a complete protein, while chocolate delivers fast-acting carbohydrates to replenish depleted energy reserves.

About 8 grams of protein and electrolytes may be found in only one cup of chocolate moo juice, allowing for rapid rehydration and cellular fluid homeostasis.

The carb-to-protein ratio of low-fat chocolate milk is roughly 4:1, making it comparable to many other recovery drinks. According to research published in 2019 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, chocolate milk is just as effective as water and other sports beverages for post-workout recovery.

Tart Cherries

The antioxidants in sour cherries may help reduce muscular stiffness and soreness following interval exercise. Recent research reveals that the anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherry juice may aid in the speedy recovery of athletes who engage in intermittent exercise (brief sessions spread throughout the day).

There are around 20 grams of sugar in an 8-ounce glass of certain tart cherry juice brands. However, this is pure sugar. "Natural sugar adds metabolic stability, which promotes a healthy metabolism and proper energy levels," explains Greene. "Naturally occurring sugars," which are mostly found in fruit, provide vital nutrients like potassium and vitamin C, which aid in muscular function and immune system support, respectively.

Check the sugar levels by reading the nutrition label. Greene advises people to go elsewhere if there are more than 5 grams of added sugar per serving.

Shake That Protein

After a workout, a protein shake is one of the most common ways to speed up recovery. According to a meta-analysis published in 2018, consuming a protein shake after exercise may improve performance and speed recovery. There is evidence to show that using protein supplements may increase one's daily protein and calorie consumption.

Choose between whey and plant-based proteins. Both aid in muscular development, enhanced strength, and aesthetic body modification.


A single medium-sized nanner has around 422 mg of potassium, or about an eighth of your daily recommended consumption, making them excellent sources of the mineral that regulates heartbeat and aids in appropriate muscular function.

"After a workout, bananas can help replenish lost glycogen stores, which in turn helps restore energy levels," explains Greene.

Bananas have been shown to improve cycling performance, recovery time, energy, and concentration, according to a study of performance times over 75 kilometers.


Use this lush green vegetable as the foundation of your post-workout salad. Greene claims that the antioxidant content of spinach aids in muscle rehabilitation by decreasing inflammation. In addition to helping you rehydrate, Popeye's favorite food is almost all water.

Nitrites, found naturally in spinach and other leafy greens, have been linked to improved cardiovascular health and greater athletic performance. Strength gains and greater musculoskeletal health due to nitrates have also been seen.

Granola And Fruit On Greek Yogurt

According to Gately, you can get roughly 13 grams of protein and healthy carbohydrates from a cup of Greek yogurt with a handful of berries and a sprinkle of granola.

In addition to being an excellent source of flavor, blueberries are loaded with nutrients that work together to strengthen bones and muscles, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. Raspberries may help you feel better by eliminating oxidative stress (a cause of inflammation) and free radicals.

Choose your granola with care. A single serving of certain brands might contain as much as 20-24 grams of sugar. Check the nutrition facts to find a product that has 5 or less grams of sugar per serving.

Seeds Of The Chia Plant

According to Greene, chia seeds' high protein content helps speed up the recuperation process after strenuous exercise.

There is some evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids in these small seeds might help reduce inflammation and promote muscular building in a smoothie.

When taken occasionally, they may also aid with weight loss. Chia seeds have the ability to soak up a lot of water, causing them to swell in the stomach and keep you full for a while.

Whole Eggs

This all-natural protein source makes for a great, quick treat after a workout. Even though egg whites by themselves are a fantastic protein source, research shows that eating the whole egg improves the egg's muscle-replenishing effects. In addition, research suggests that eating eggs might help you gain muscle faster.

Green Tea

This popular beverage is not only an excellent method to rehydrate after exercise, but its high antioxidant content may also aid lessen the subsequent inflammation and muscle discomfort.

You may theoretically consume it before and after a workout since it includes caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which may help in calorie burn and metabolic assistance.

Finally, because green tea includes L-theanine, which may aid induce relaxation, it is a calming approach to wind down your body and lower your pulse rate after exercise.


An amino acid naturally created by the body and also present in meats including beef, poultry, pig, and shellfish; however, it is more often obtained as a powdered supplement that may be blended with liquids like water or juice.

Creatine supplements have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including the promotion of healthy aging due to their potential to mitigate the age-related loss of muscle and bone density.

9 Best Muscle Recovery Foods and Drinks

Nondietary Tips To Relieve Sore Muscles

Other elements, in addition to meals and drinks, have the potential to speed up muscle recovery and lessen the pain that occurs in muscles after exercise. The following are some methods that have been shown to be effective in promoting muscle recovery:

  • Get adequate sleep - Your performance might suffer, and your ability to recuperate can be hindered, if you don't get enough sleep.
  • Treatment using compression - Compression garments have been shown to speed up muscle recovery after exercise, which in turn may increase the treated muscles' ability to operate and their level of strength.
  • Therapeutic use of heat - Immersion in cold water has been shown to aid in the mending of muscle tissue, as well as reduce inflammation and lessen DOMS.
  • Rolling in the foam - It has been shown that foam rolling may increase exercise performance and lessen post-workout soreness.
  • The art of massage treatment - There is some evidence that massage treatment may enhance muscular function and lessen delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

It is possible that not all of these methods will work for your body or way of life; thus, the best approach to figuring out which choices are effective for you is to give them a go.

People Also Ask

What Are The Top Protein-rich Foods For Muscle Recovery?

Protein-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and plant-based sources like legumes and tofu are excellent for muscle recovery.

Which Fruits Are Beneficial For Muscle Recovery?

Fruits like bananas, berries, oranges, and watermelon provide essential vitamins, antioxidants, and natural sugars to support muscle recovery and replenish glycogen stores.

What Role Do Carbohydrates Play In Muscle Recovery?

Carbohydrates are essential for replenishing glycogen stores and providing energy for muscle recovery. Whole grains, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and fruits are good carbohydrate sources for muscle recovery.

Are There Specific Vitamins And Minerals That Aid In Muscle Recovery?

Yes, vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, and iron play important roles in muscle recovery. Foods rich in these nutrients include citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, and lean meats.

Can Healthy Fats Help With Muscle Recovery?

Yes, healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish provide anti-inflammatory properties and support hormone production, which aids in muscle recovery and reduces inflammation.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating the best foods for muscle recovery into your diet can greatly enhance your post-workout or post-activity recuperation process.

By fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals, you provide the essential building blocks for muscle repair and growth.

Incorporating foods such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can help optimize muscle recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and enhance overall athletic performance.

Remember to stay hydrated and listen to your body's signals for proper recovery and nutrition. By prioritizing your diet and choosing the right foods, you can support your muscles' recovery process, maximize your training gains, and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

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