Recovery is not just about mountains of protein and carbs. Your regular everyday diet has a lot to do with your overall capacity to recover from hard rides. You need to make sure you’re ALSO getting healthy fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Let’s look at some surprising foods that can help you recover.
Feed your body the right variety
There are plenty of foods that contain no protein, very little carbs and still help your body recover a lot. These are a few suggestions. You don’t need to eat them every day, but they will be a useful addition now and then.
Cherries – Eating dried tart cherries after training sessions can dramatically reduce muscle breakdown, pain, and inflammation within the body. They are a great ingredient for salads.
Turmeric – It is full of the inflammation-fighting antioxidant curcumin, which has been shown to decrease delayed onset muscle soreness and ease pain and swelling. You can add turmeric to soups¨, salads, or even coffee.
Green tea – It is abundant in anti-inflammatory antioxidants making it the ideal pre- or post- ride drink to prevent muscle and cell damage. And it helps you stay hydrated too!
Cacao – It contains high levels of antioxidants, magnesium, and B-vitamins that reduce exercise related stress in the body, balance electrolytes, and boost energy levels. And cacao powder is a versatile flavour to have in your kitchen too.
Recipe: Blackened Chicken Fiesta Salad
This nutrient dense meal will give you a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that are essential for recovery and long term health too. It only takes 25 minutes of prep time and yields 4 servings. Each serving carries 516 kcal, 13,5 g of fat, 40 g of carbs, 9 g of fibre, and 60 g of protein. And it’s really tasty!
For the salad
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh cooked corn
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup minced red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 small diced avocado
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive
1 tsp cumin
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt, cumin, and thyme each
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper and garlic powder each
olive oil spray (or about 1 tbsp)
- In a large bowl, combine the garlic, lime juice, oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt.
- Add the chickpeas, corn, tomato, onion and cilantro; mix well.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes until it is smoking hot.
- Mix together the paprika, salt, cayenne, cumin, thyme, and garlic powder. Spray the chicken breasts with olive oil spray on both sides then coat the chicken breasts evenly with the spice mixture.
- Place the chicken in the hot skillet, and cook for 1 minute. Turn, and cook 1 minute on other side.
- Transfer to preheated oven (to 175C or 350F)and bake until no longer pink in the centre and the juices run clear (or a thermometer reads 74C or 165F inserted in the centre), about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Slice chicken. When ready to eat, gently mix avocado into the salad, top with chicken and serve right away.