6 Key Nutrients for Optimal Recovery

Three Advanced Recovery Nutrients

Probiotics
These healthy gut bacteria do more than keep you regular. Athletes can experience two important benefits when probiotics are added to recovery: 1) The bacteria improve the immediate digestion and absorption of the other nutrients in recovery, allowing them to be delivered to muscle cells faster, and 2) probiotics specifically improve the immune function in endurance athletes, especially in regards to chronic colds, mononucleosis and fatigue associated with over-training. Try adding lactobacillus from yogurt, kefir or supplements to recovery and daily eating.

More: 11 Sour Foods That Boost Endurance and Power

L-Glutamine

L-glutamine is an amino acid used by the gut cells and skeletal muscles cells. Although sedentary people likely receive adequate L-glutamine through the regular consumption of protein-rich foods and the constant breakdown/repair of muscles, athletes often become deficient due to their high skeletal muscle demands. Supplementing L-glutamine in recovery can significantly reduce soreness and shorten recovery duration. Simply add 5 grams (from a supplemental powder) to your recovery meal or snack.

More: Recovery Foods That Ease Muscle Soreness

Ginger

This natural superfood is loaded with anti-inflammatories, antioxidants and phytochemicals, all which contribute to optimal cell recovery. Ginger has also been known to reduce joint pain and improve joint health. In recent years, studies have shown that it's also effective in reducing muscle soreness in athletes before and after training.

In fact, in one study, participants took either 2 grams of ginger or a placebo each day for several days before strenuous exercise. The participants who took the ginger experienced a 25 percent reduction in soreness compared to the placebo participants. To get enough ginger for ongoing recovery, take four 500-milligram ginger pill supplements per day, 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger or 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.

More: The Health Benefits of Ginger

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About the Author

Kelli Jennings

Kelli Jennings, RD and sports nutritionist, is the owner of Apex Nutrition, LLC. Kelli helps athletes reach their weight goals and build strength, endurance and stamina. She teaches clients to eat for reduced inflammation, the best recovery and ongoing fueling needs as they push themselves to new levels. Like Kelli on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Kelli Jennings, RD and sports nutritionist, is the owner of Apex Nutrition, LLC. Kelli helps athletes reach their weight goals and build strength, endurance and stamina. She teaches clients to eat for reduced inflammation, the best recovery and ongoing fueling needs as they push themselves to new levels. Like Kelli on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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