Recovery in the Kitchen: Spices that Ease Post-Workout Pain

Photo courtesy of congerdesign, via Pixabay

Recovery in the Kitchen: Spices that Ease Post-Workout Pain

by Cat Bradley | Featured | Aug 28, 2017

We’ve all been there; so sore from a workout that snake-oil and healing crystals seem like a viable option for relief. Among the many benefits of exercise, we are often met with some debilitating post-workout discomforts. Muscle soreness and inflammation can make otherwise mindless activities such as sitting on the toilet seem as difficult as maxing out your squat.

Post-workout soreness and pain can stop even the most athletic among us from working out the next day, leaving a trail of rest days with no end in sight.

So, how can you alleviate these post-workout woes and not derail your training? The answer can be right in your kitchen.

Here are two spices, turmeric and garlic, that have shown to be valuable recovery aids in post-workout pain.

Turmeric: What is it?

A spice that’s been around for thousands of years, Turmeric is equal parts tasty and healthy. It is heralded for its powerful flavor, enhancing dishes like curry with its pungent taste and electric orange color. Part of the ginger family, turmeric is renowned for its distinct impact on foods, and it is commonly used in various Asian dishes.

How Does Turmeric Work?

In addition to enhancing flavor profiles in meals, turmeric has been proven a veritable powerhouse for athletic recovery. The primary cause of post-workout pain is increased inflammation that can affect any part of the body, especially overworked muscle tissue.

Research shows that turmeric has an array of anti-inflammatory properties. According to studies, curcumin is the substance in turmeric with the most active anti-inflammatory benefits. When ingested, turmeric can help alleviate joint and muscle pain caused by exercise induced stress.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, the curcumin found in turmeric also contains powerful antioxidants that help to speed up recovery. Research shows that antioxidants are nature’s best source against aging, providing the closest thing to a fountain of youth available today. Antioxidants help restore the body, while simultaneously fighting off the free radicals in the environment that cause disease, including cancer and heart disease.

Turmeric provides the fundamentals for athletic recovery and longevity while delivering a flavorful punch, making it a kitchen must-have.

Garlic: What is it?

In addition to turmeric, garlic has proven time and again to be an invaluable recovery resource for recovery. The ubiquitous garlic bulb has been benefiting both health and cuisine for thousands of years, influencing the food of many cultures including European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American. An herb that is easy to grow and famous for its pungent and spicy flavor, garlic’s ability to heal has been well researched and documented.

How Does Garlic Work?

Much like turmeric, garlic has immense anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have shown that the sulphuric compounds found in garlic, the ones that give it its distinct smell and flavor, are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. These agents help aid and protect against infection, virus, fungus, and helps to calm the inflammation which results from intense exercise. The anti-inflammatory gifts of garlic can help an athlete not only recover but to ward off potential illnesses that can derail training.

As with turmeric, the anti-inflammatory benefits of garlic go together with its incredible antioxidant capacity. Allicin, the compound in garlic responsible for its antioxidant activity and supports a healthy cardiovascular system by improving the flow of blood through the vessels and veins. Good cardiovascular health is essential for before and after workouts. It allows the body to work and recover to its full capacity.

Garlic’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits are particularly felt by those experiencing a post-workout lag. It can clear the mind as well as protect and invigorate the body, making it an invaluable tool for athletes of all caliber.

Delicious Medicine

Both turmeric and garlic have the distinction of possessing medicinal benefits while being delicious additions to many meals. Turmeric has a particularly key role in the flavor profile of various curries, and garlic is an essential staple in much of Italian cuisine. They can also both be ingested as supplements, possibly the easiest way to absorb the key nutrients and feel the associated benefits. Each herb can be eaten raw as well, although caution should be exercised with garlic as it’s bold heat can cause pain to people not used to it. Whichever way you slice it, get turmeric and garlic into your diet; your body will thank you.