10% off £25 OR 15% off £35

Code:EXTRA
 

10% off £25 OR 15% off £35

Code:EXTRA

🏷️ 3 for 2 Mix & MatchOffersOffers Hub3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 priceGreat SavingsBuy 1 Get 1 Free1/2 PriceBetter than 1/2 priceIntroductory Offer3 for £3 Mix & MatchShort DatedBuy 6 for £15 Mix & MatchLast chance to buyVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & Supplements3 for 2 Mix & MatchBuy 1 Get 1 FreeShort DatedHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBach Original Flower RemediesBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Dairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas & Hot BeveragesTeaCoffee & Coffee SubstituteMushroom DrinksDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinksShop all DrinksKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete Food3 for 2 Mix & MatchBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdManuka DoctorGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeSulphites FreeCelery FreeKiwi FreeMustard FreeFish FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsEnergy DrinksProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersAmino Energy DrinksBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 Price3 for 2 Mix & MatchGreat SavingsOptimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNGrenadeApplied NutritionPhDFoodspringSiSHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual Wellness3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceLast chance to buyDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeParfum FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein Bars3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceGreat SavingsOptimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettUSNPulsinPhDEat WaterApplied NutritionNatures AidNew NordicDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & Relaxation3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 priceHolland & BarrettWeledaVitabioticsDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBeurerDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeWheat FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeNew inShop for your WellnessMuscle & Joint PainImmunityGut HealthMenopauseWomen's HealthFood & DietSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthChildren's HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast
muscle recovery meal

Muscle recovery foods

07 Sep 2021 • 2 min read

Whether you’re new to the gym or a fitness guru, we all know how important it is to incorporate a nutritious diet along with plenty of exercises to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In fact, the right nutrition can help with your overall wellbeing, as well as support your workout routine.

From weight lifting to marathon running, working out causes some of the protein in your muscles to get damaged.1,2

With that in mind, eating a nutritious meal or snack after your workout is as important as your pre-workout fuel.

Below, we’ve put together some tips to help you make the right choices to help make your workouts as productive as possible.

What causes muscle soreness?

Delayed onset muscle soreness, or ‘DOMS’ essentially refers to the temporary damage your muscles experience as a result of exercise.3

Strenuous use of your muscles creates tiny micro-tears in your muscle tissue, which the body then repairs during a period of recovery.

Despite sounding like something to be avoided, these tiny muscle tears are a good thing as they cause your muscles to grow and become more defined.

If you’re exercising at a high intensity, or in a way that uses several muscles at once, you’re more likely to experience soreness as you’ll experience more micro-tears.

Similarly, if you’re using a group of muscles you don’t normally use, for example during a new exercise class, you’re likely to feel the burn over the next few days.

DOMS occurs alongside oxidative stress and inflammation within the muscle cells, which as well as causing you soreness and pain, can temporarily impair performance and lead to longer recovery times.

Eating the right foods to promote good recovery is very important, including a wide range of fruit and vegetables.

However, blueberries in particular have emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the fight against the pain of sore muscles.

What to think about when eating for muscle recovery

Simply eating a snack or a meal after your workout isn’t enough to reduce that post-workout soreness.

What you eat is really important, so try to avoid loading up on unhealthy food straight after your gym session or jog.

The timing of your post-workout fuel is also worth thinking about. The sooner, the better after exercise is usually the best option, or at most within three hours of your session.4

What food to eat for muscle recovery

Like we mentioned above, choosing the right options is essential when it comes to muscle recovery foods.

Try to choose protein-rich food, along with some carbohydrates, to kick start the rebuilding process.5

Eggs

Eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats, which make them an excellent choice for a post-workout snack.

You could try scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast or a simple hardboiled egg paired with spinach.

Dairy

Look for protein-rich dairy products like a cottage or ricotta cheese.

The natural carbs and nutrients found in these dairy products can help to boost your post-workout recovery.

Try enjoying yours with a handful of berries or simply pick a flavoured cottage cheese option as a snack.

Fatty fish

Fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel, are full of protein and healthy omega-3 acids. They can help to reduce inflammation around the body and restore electrolytes.

Try enjoying some smoked salmon on wholegrain crackers (perhaps with a smear of ricotta cheese) as a healthy post-workout snack.6

Dairy

Some research has suggested that eating unprocessed carbs can lessen the drop in your immune system after you exercise.

Try choosing sweet potatoes, oats, fruit, or wholegrain bread and pair with your favourite protein.7

Berries

Some berries are thought to help with muscle soreness and recovery. It’s well known that blueberries are an anti-inflammatory food, which goes some way towards explaining why they are so good at helping sore muscles recover.8

However, blueberries have proved superior to other antioxidant-rich fruits in helping relieve muscle soreness.

This might be down in part to phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds found in many plant sources.

In blueberries, the phytochemicals include elements called anthocyanins, which is what makes them blue.

This phytochemical works as a potent antioxidant which helps neutralise free radicals, which is the cause of oxidative stress in the body.

A study from New Zealand in 2012 examined the effect of consuming regular blueberry smoothies on induced muscle soreness in ten athletes.

The researchers used a machine to cause exercise-induced muscle damage in one of their legs, while including blueberry smoothies containing 200g of blueberries into their diets before and after they introduced the muscle micro tears.

Blood was then drawn from the subjects following the exercise to measure oxidative stress, antioxidant levels and inflammation.

Compared to a second test where the athletes were given smoothies which didn’t contain blueberries, the athletes experienced reduced muscle soreness and faster strength recovery after drinking the blueberry smoothies.9

Scientists think that it might be down to the interactions between particular phytochemicals found in high levels in blueberries alongside other vitamins found in healthy foods.

For best results, eat blueberries before and after exercise to help promote muscle recovery.

Using them to make a smoothie, as was done during the New Zealand study, is a great idea and makes it easy to pack plenty of blueberries into one serving.

Alternately, you could add handfuls of them to Greek yoghurt, cereal or porridge, or use them in baking.

Try a handful over Greek yoghurt or ricotta cheese as a protein-packed snack.10

While not strictly a berry, tart cherries are also claimed to help with post-workout recovery.11

Alternative options

Sometimes, it’s not always possible to put together a healthy and nutritious post-workout meal.

If you’re on the go or don’t have the time, look for supplements to help you build lean muscle.

These are a convenient way to promote muscle recovery after an intense workout.

What food to avoid for muscle recovery

Like with most diet plans, there are some foods you should avoid straight after a workout.

These types of ingredients are unlikely to provide you with the essential nutrients you need to recover. Some foods to avoid may include:

  • Salty processed snacks like crisps
  • Processed energy bars or protein bars, which often have lots of artificial sweeteners and low nutrient content
  • Sweet sodas or sports drinks. Water should be enough to keep you hydrated

Instead, choose healthy and balanced food as your go-to for the best recovery possible.

Whatever snacks or meals you pick after a workout, remember to stay hydrated too!12

Handpicked contentYour guide to muscle strength – warm-ups, muscle fuel and muscle recovery

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 7 September 2021

donia-hilal

Donia Hilal

Author

Nutritionist

Joined Holland & Barrett: January 2018

Bsc in Nutrition, Registered Associate Nutritionist and Certification in Pre and Post Natal Nutrition

Donia started her career as a freelance nutritionist, later she joined Nestle as their Market Nutritionist to help support their healthier product range, before joining the team at Holland & Barrett in January 2018.

Donia has over 6 years experience as a Nutritionist and also works with clients on a one to one basis to support their goals which include weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and children’s health.

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2023. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.