Good Foods for Exercising

I recently came across a fun article entitled, the 10 Best Foods and Drinks for Exercising (click the link). The article lists what it considers the 10 best foods and drinks that provide our bodies with energy for exercise as well as assist us in recovery after exercise.

Here are a few of my favorites from the article:
  • Oatmeal–our bodies need carbohydrates in order to fuel our muscles for a workout. Complex carbohydrates from whole grains like oatmeal provide a great source of energy along with the added benefits of fiber and many vitamins and minerals. Oatmeal makes a great breakfast or even mid-afternoon snack.
  • Almonds–almonds are a wonderful source of healthy fats as well as many antioxidants that help fight against free radicals. When we exercise, our bodies produce free radicals which can damage our cells. By eating foods that are rich in antioxidants, like almonds, we can greatly reduce the damage done by free radicals. Almonds can be high in calories, however, so keep in mind that 12 almonds is about 100 calories.
  • Low-fat Ricotta with Honey–after we exercise our bodies need to repair any damage done to our muscles. Eating a small amount of protein can assist with this repairing process. Ricotta cheese is a good source of protein, and it also provides calcium, which is important for strengthening our bones. Adding a little bit of honey helps replenish the energy our muscles have used during exercise.
  • Ginger–ginger has some great medicinal-type benefits. It is an anti-inflammatory and has been show to decrease muscle soreness after exercise. It may also reduce joint stiffness and swelling. Fresh ginger root can be used in various smoothies, soups or other such dishes. The article provides 2 different recipes that use fresh ginger, including: Carrot, Apple and Ginger Refresher (click the link) and Curry Ginger Butternut Squash Soup (click the link).
  • Salmon–salmon is a great source of protein for building and repairing muscle after a heavy workout. Salmon is also a good source of vitamin D, which helps strengthen our bones, among other things. Additionally, salmon is a wonderful source of omega-3 fats–these help to reduce inflammation and are also important for both joint and brain health.
This list is definitely not exhaustive. There are many other foods that are great for providing good energy for exercise as well as repairing and building muscle post-exercise. Any whole grain is a wonderful source of complex carbohydrates for sustained energy. Many different types of nuts have antioxidants that can reduce free radical damage. Various lean proteins like lean meats, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy, soy products, beans and eggs can assist the body in building and repairing muscle. And of course various fruits and vegetables can provide the range of vitamins and minerals our bodies need after a good workout.
By eating a variety of whole grains, lean proteins and fruits and vegetables, we can properly fuel our bodies for exercise.
Rachel Cope MPH, RD, CD