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Food for Thought- Post Exercise Munchies

There is so much advertisement out there these days for supplements and “sports performance” products. It is difficult at times to know what is best for yourself or your child athlete. I have always endorsed getting what you can from your diet, when you can get it from your diet. No fancy gimmicks here or sale's speeches. Below is a list of some foods that have been shown in research to help the recovery from athletic events or exercise.


1. Water

So simple, yet so underutilized. The onset of sports drinks into the world of post-exercise recovery came about after the development of electrolyte supplements for preventing dehydration in children in third world countries, who had suffered dehydrate from severe diarrhea. Companies such as pepsi and Coca Cola ran with it and developed and marketed “the magical sports drinks”. Really, most studies and current recommendations show that water is just as effective!

2. Spinach

Yes, the green, leafy stuff that you either avoid or try to hide in your morning smoothies. This stuff is truly amazing. Eating a salad a day (spinach that is) can reduce oxidative stress in the muscle tissue, thus reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. This in turn allows the athlete to get back to their activity more quickly!

3. Cherries

Drinking tart cherry juice has been shown to also reduce inflammatory markers, which in turn reduce muscle soreness. The key here is that if you reduce the soreness, you will be able to load the muscle more quickly and frequently, which will positively affect your training! The same effects and more can also be reached by eating 45 cherries a day.


This was just some “food for thought” when deciding what to pack in your athlete’s bag for their pre or post practice/game bags. Just remember that a fancy commercial or advertisement campaign doesn’t equal a healthy option. Sometimes it is as simple as sticking with the basics. The real stuff.


Have an awesome week and remember to keep moving!


Cindy VanSickler, DC, CCSP, Cert. MDT

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