Inflammation occurs when the body suffers an injury and small blood vessels are damaged. The body reacts by sending fluids to the injured area to help heal it. This affects muscles and joints, making it harder for athletes to do what they want to do.
Every athlete deals with inflammation at some point, either due to an injury or from a intense workout when muscles suffer small micro-tears. Inflammation can cause athletes to miss practices or be unable to work out as effectively as they want.
STACK talked to sports dietician Leslie Bonci to learn about certain types of anti-inflammatory foods and how they can help an athlete recover from aches and pains they deal with throughout the year.
Fruits and vegetables are great anti-inflammatory foods. Foods that are deep green and yellow in color have anti-inflammatory properties, and they should be a part of your daily diet. A good example is pineapple, which contains bromeliad, a substance that reduces inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have great anti-inflammatory properties. Some athletes take it in pill form, but there are other ways to consume omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna and shrimp all have omega-3 and can stop inflammation.
Tart cherry juice is another anti-inflammatory food. It contains anthocyanin, which prevents inflammation. A little bit of tart cherry juice before bed can help stop inflammation.
Hot sauce or crushed red peppers can confer anti-inflammatory benefits. You can put them on almost any food. They contain the active ingredient capsaicin, which has a anti-inflammatory benefits.
Many herbs also have anti-inflammatory properties, including turmeric. Many people buy it in the spice form, but it's better to buy the root and grate it into a smoothie or over rice or chicken. Another is ginger, which is also best to buy in a root form. Ginger prevents delayed onset muscle soreness, the feeling that many athletes have on the day after a tough workout.
If you use all these foods at some time during the week, you will reduce your pain and get back sooner to your normal strength.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock