The nutrients you need to aid healing, reduce inflammation and promote recovery
I recommend avoiding the use of NSAIDs and pain killers such as Aspirin, which come with a wide range of side effects including the potential of gastrointestinal bleeding. There are plenty of natural alternatives to try! As well as resting the damaged areas (not overtraining and causing long-term damage), you can also add the following for naturopathic repair.
- Magnesium is vital to repair and relax the muscles. I prefer to use a magnesium citrate as this is in the most bioavailable form. You may also find some benefit from taking an epsom salt bath to help ease muscles and absorb magnesium through the skin.
- Essential fatty acids help with muscle soreness. I like to use krill oil as it is a good source of Astaxanthin, which reduces muscle soreness and also decreases lactic acid for increased endurance.
- MSM (Methysulfonylmethane) has many great qualities, including a powerful anti-inflammatory which can also reduce muscle spasm and relieve pain, as well as protect against joint deterioration. Studies on patients with sports related injuries showed 40% fewer visits to a chiropractor. MSM and Glucosamine work best in combination to help reduce pain and inflammation. I would advise using Collagen MSM Plus, a liquid supplement developed specifically for joint and muscle health which contains Glucosamine, Collagen, and a range of vitamins.
- Limit Omega 6 – High levels of omega 6 (such as vegetable oils and spreads) can promote inflammation and increase pain. Replace these with omega 3 rich foods such as oily fish, nut oils, avocado oil, coconut oil and butter.
- Eat plenty of antioxidants, with the best sources coming from coloured vegetables and berries. These mop up free radicals which can cause so much damage to our cells, impeding our ability to recover.
- Protein powders – there are lots of protein powders on the market, but be careful as some can contain Casein which is highly allergenic and many can contain lots of sugar, fillers and additives. Ideally get your protein from real food but if you feel you need additional support, opt for the best quality Whey protein you can find and always read the ingredients. Take 1 - 3 hours after exercise.
- Hop Alpha Acids act as a really fast acting pain reliever, reducing inflammation and is a great antioxidant. Hop alpha acid has been shown to help with osteoarthritis, especially if accompanied by a low sugar, Mediterranean diet.
- Glucosamine – this is found in your synovial and bursal fluid, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments. It also encourages the building of new cartilage and aids joint flexibility, so you can see why adding this as a supplement can help heal and even reverse joint damage.