The 10 Top Muscle Recovery Foods – SWEAT

10 Best Foods For Muscle Recovery & Repair

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10 Best Foods For Muscle Recovery & Repair
Muscle Recovery Foods

Hands up if you’ve ever encountered sore or stiff muscles, or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)? 

Most of us have been there — and that means dealing with muscle recovery.

While foam rolling, low-intensity cardio workouts and staying hydrated can help to promote muscle recovery and repair, good nutrition can go a long way too.

Foods that help muscle recovery

If you're eating to support muscle recovery, you should prioritise foods that are rich in protein and carbohydrates. Recovery nutrition is all about focusing on refuelling, rehydrating, repair and growth.

Whether you follow a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, keto or flexitarian diet, there are so many nutritious and tasty foods you can eat to help repair your muscles.

Along with drinking lots of water and getting enough protein, these are some of the best muscle recovery foods that will help you get back to the gym faster, reduce muscle soreness when you're not at the gym and help your muscles go from strength to strength.

Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is an excellent source of whey protein (known for its role in replenishing muscles quickly post-workout) and casein protein (a slow-acting protein that allows your muscles to continue recovering even as you sleep).

This makes cottage cheese a great snack to have before or after your workout! Enjoy it on wholegrain toast or with fresh fruit.

Foods For Muscle Recovery

Sweet potato

Exercise can deplete your body’s glycogen stores, so it’s important to eat carbs afterwards to rebuild them — sweet potatoes are perfect as they are high in complex carbohydrates and contain a range of other important nutrients, including vitamin A and potassium.

Roasted, baked, mashed or even sliced to make toast, sweet potatoes are easy to prepare and delicious in every form.


One of the most refreshing fruits, watermelon is a great addition to your diet when your muscles are feeling sore.

Watermelon is made up mostly of water (about 92%), so it’s fantastic for hydration and contains vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and magnesium, which are essential for muscle function and can help relieve soreness, tension and cramps.

Thanks to its vitamin C content, watermelon can also help reduce muscle inflammation. 


Salmon packs a powerful punch with its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B, potassium and selenium.

A 2019 systematic review concluded that omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with lower inflammatory biomarkers. In addition, the potassium found in salmon can help replace electrolytes lost during your workout.

And don't forget about salmon’s high protein content, which is key to helping repair and rebuild muscles after a workout.


Eggs are rich in protein and a range of nutrients, making them a great food for muscle recovery.

Consuming protein after working out gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. 

Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack — eggs are versatile and easy to cook.

Spinach For Muscle Recovery


When it comes to nutrient-dense foods, spinach is hard to beat! Containing vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K1, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium, spinach ticks a lot of boxes.

When you exercise and sweat a lot, you need to replenish the electrolytes lost. Spinach, which is rich in key electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, is a great food to eat to help your body recover.

Spinach is suited to savoury breakfast dishes, as well as many lunch and dinner meals (think salads, pasta, bakes, casseroles and risottos), but you can easily blend it into a smoothie too! It’s easy to incorporate into your day, no matter when you like to work out.


Bananas are a fantastic source of carbohydrate, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium and fibre.

They’re a great choice if you're working out regularly because they provide a quick source of energy, as well as some essential vitamins and minerals. 

It’s also thought that eating bananas can help to reduce exercise-related muscle cramps and soreness, due to their high potassium content. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, potassium helps muscles to contract, and cramps or muscle weakness can be a sign you’re not getting enough.

Bananas make a great snack or can be turned into something more hearty. Think smoothies, on porridge or toast, or topped with some nut butter - yum! 

Nuts and seeds

Loads of nut and seed varieties are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which work to fight inflammation and improve bone and joint health. In addition, they are also a good source of protein which is essential for muscle recovery!

The star players? Walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pecans and hazelnuts.

Enjoy them as a snack when you’re on the go, add a handful to your smoothie or make some muesli bars to get your dose in.


With its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is a no-brainer, go-to muscle recovery food.

Better yet, there are so many ways to cook with turmeric! Turmeric can be sprinkled on roast vegetables or added to curries, soups, rice, juices and smoothie bowls or used to make golden milk.

Green Tea For Muscle Recovery

Foods to avoid for better muscle recovery

While some foods are optimal for supporting muscle repair, there are others that won’t provide as many of the nutrients you need post-workout.

Where possible, be mindful of your intake of the following:

Salty processed foods

If you’re feeling low on energy and dehydrated after a workout, you might crave something salty! This is totally normal, as you lose water and nutrients like potassium when you sweat. 

While salty fries or chips might be tempting, a smoothie would be more nutritious. The banana replenishes your potassium and carbohydrate levels while adding milk, nuts, seeds or protein powder will help repair those sore muscles. 

Packaged energy or protein bars

When you’re running low on time, packaged snack bars can be an easy food to grab and go. 

While some people love them, others often find they can be difficult to digest. Many snack bars are also full of artificial sweeteners and can be low in fibre and the essential vitamins and minerals you need to repair post-workout. If you love a snack bar, try making your own or look for a bar where you know what the ingredients are. 

Sweetened beverages 

Most fizzy and sports drinks have lots of added sugar or artificial sweeteners, so plain or coconut water make better options for hydration and recovery. 

Staying hydrated in the days following your workout is also going to ensure you recover well and stay energised.

Food is recovery fuel

Food can power you up to work out and work to mend your muscles too!

Try incorporating these foods into your pre-workout meals or at other times of day — with so many tasty and nutritious options, it’s easy to include some in your diet to aid muscle recovery.

Do you have any go-to foods or recipes that you eat to help with your muscle recovery? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

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