A cup of fruit salad after a strenuous workout is beneficial for athletes. It speeds up recovery, fights inflammation, relieves joint pain, and builds muscle mass! Follow 12 simple tips to prepare the ultimate post-workout snack!
Eat a fruit salad after a workout for muscle growth & recovery
A fruit salad after exhausting exercise helps athletes recover faster. Eating fruits after the gym is beneficial for both elite and amateur athletes.
Hydrates the body
Firstly, a fruit salad after a demanding workout is good for you because it hydrates the body.
Most fruits are 80-92% water. A cup of fruit salad provides about 140 ml of high-quality, purified water. Actually, fruits are natural water filters!
Moreover, fruits hydrate the body better than tap water. They also contain electrolytes. Daily replenishment of electrolytes is vital for proper hydration.
We lose electrolytes during demanding workouts. Drinking tap water without replenishing them can have detrimental effects on athletic performance. For instance, cramps due to electrolyte imbalances are very common to runners and other endurance athletes.
Promotes muscle recovery!
Additionally, a fruit salad after the gym helps replenish muscle glycogen stores. Fruits contain sugar that the body requires for muscle recovery. Actually, the best time of the day to eat sugar (even your favorite candy) is right after exercise!
But, there are too many foods high in sugar. Above all, a fruit salad after exercise supports muscle recovery because it’s particularly high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants neutralize exercise-induced free-radicals.
On the contrary, a poor diet that doesn’t fight free radicals in combination to demanding workouts can lead to oxidative stress and chronic-low grade inflammations.
In this case, the body can’t easily adapt to intense workouts. It requires much more time to rest. As an aftermath, athletes may feel fatigue and have poor physical performance.
Vegetables and herbs are also particularly rich in antioxidants.
Also, if you really want to improve your antioxidant status, you should consume amla powder. It’s one of the richest herbs in antioxidants you can buy. You could add a teaspoon to your favorite post-workout smoothie.
Helps build a lean body
Furthermore, a fruit bowl a day supports weight loss because it’s packed with fiber. A cup of fruit salad provides about 14% of the recommended daily intake!
Fiber promotes the feeling of fullness for hours. It delays digestion and stimulates the synthesis of satiety hormones! Hence, it helps us consume fewer calories!
Caloric deficit is key for a lean body. Obese people who want to lose weight, or athletes of bodybuilding during the cutting phase, should consume fewer calories than they burn.
Eat a fruit salad after gym to restore potassium imbalances
Exhaustive exercise can cause huge potassium imbalances. Potassium is an essential electrolyte. It is needed by all tissues in the body.
Normal potassium levels are necessary for athletes, as it’s involved in muscle contraction and nerve functions.
Hence, it’s vital for athletes to eat a wide variety of foods with potassium. Especially in their post-workout meals.
Fruits are excellent dietary sources of potassium. In fact, a cup of fruit salad provides up to 24% of the Daily Value!
However, most people fail to meet their daily needs. According to recent studies, only 10% of men and less than 1% of women consume the recommended daily intake of potassium!
Replenishes copper after exercise
Additionally, a fruit bowl after the gym can replenish copper. It provides about 10% of the Daily Value!
Copper is an essential trace mineral that is involved in energy metabolism. Also, normal copper concentrations are important for athletes because it’s necessary for the synthesis of collagen and healthy connective tissue! Copper is found mainly in bones and muscles.
Helps sleep better at night
Eating a salad after exercise is particularly beneficial if you go to the gym in the evening. Not only does fruit salad promote muscle recovery and growth, but also, it helps you sleep better at night.
A good night’s sleep is important for athletes. The body heals itself and builds muscle mass during the night.
How to prepare the best post-workout fruit salad?
Just follow the following 12 simple tips to prepare the ultimate post-workout fruit salad.
1. Add at least one fruit high in vitamin C
Above all, you should add at least one fruit high in vitamin C to your post-workout salad.
High vitamin C intake enhances muscle growth and recovery. But, athletes should avoid getting extremely high dosages of C from supplements. Too much vitamin C may have detrimental effects on muscle hypertrophy.
Orange, grapefruit, pineapple, kiwi, papaya, mango, and strawberries are the richest common fruits in vitamin C. Just a serving can provide up to 60% of the Daily Value!
2. Add fruits with vitamin E
Moreover, the ideal post-workout salad should contain fruits with vitamin E.
Vitamin E has potent antioxidant properties. Normal vitamin E levels are beneficial for fighting oxidative stress and inflammation in the muscles.
However, athletes should get vitamin E only from their diet. High doses from supplements tend to block the synthesis of anabolic hormones and impair adaptations to resistance training.
Avocado, kiwi, mango, pear, and cranberry are the richest fruits in vitamin E. A serving provides 5-11% of the Daily Value!
If you want to naturally boost your vitamin E intake, you should add some almonds or sunflower seeds to your fruit salad. They’re the richest common foods in vitamin E.
Additionally, healthy fasts in seeds and nuts are necessary for the absorption of vitamin E. If you eat a fruit salad without fat, only a small percentage of vitamin E will be absorbed by the digestive track.
3. Eat fruits with Melatonin
Also, athletes should consume a fruit salad with fruits high in melatonin after strenuous exercise, such as strawberries, cherries, or cranberries. Melatonin plays a key role in physical performance, sleep, and health.
4. Pineapple for joint pain
Moreover, athletes could benefit by adding a serving of pineapple to their post-workout fruit salad. Not only is pineapple particularly rich in vitamin C, but also it’s the only food containing bromelain.
Bromelain is an enzyme with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It may relieve joint pain!
Pineapple is particularly rich in manganese as well. A serving provides about 30% of the Daily Value.
5. Watermelon for lycopene
In the summer, you could enjoy a fruit salad with watermelon after the gym. Watermelon is the richest fruit in lycopene. It has about 4,530 mcg per 100g!
This powerful carotenoid appears to speed up muscle recovery, as it skyrockets the antioxidant capacity of athletes. But, foods with lycopene are more beneficial for athletes than lycopene supplements.
The other lycopene-rich food in tomato! Eat tomato paste, sun-dried tomato, or even ketchup to boost your daily lycopene intake!
Pink grapefruit is rich in lycopene as well.
6. Add fruits high in carotenoids
Lycopene isn’t the only beneficial carotenoid for athletes.
Actually, a diet high in carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, astaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin could protect hard-training athletes from exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammations.
Also, they may play a role in muscle strength and growth.
Melon, mango, and pink papaya are rich in beta-carotene, while avocado, orange, kiwi, and cranberry are the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin.
7. Add Berries to your post-workout fruit salad
Furthermore, athletes should eat berries after a workout. All berries speed up muscle recovery, as they’re packed with antioxidant compounds.
Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries etc. are high in vitamin C, resveratrol, and anthocyanins. Every fitness enthusiast should regularly consume them.
These bioactive compounds are beneficial for athletes, as they have potent neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.
Actually, resveratrol in natural present in high amounts only in berries, grapes, and peanuts. Hence, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is one of the best post-workouts snacks an athlete can have.
8. How to prepare a fruit salad with omega-3s?
Athletes should consume high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Among others, omega-3s appear to play a key role in protein synthesis and muscle recovery. As they fight exercise-induced inflammation, omega-3s may improve efficiency of a workout.
Thus, you could benefit by adding a serving of avocado to your post-workout fruit salad. Avocado is the only fruit high in omega-3s!
Actually, there are only a few common foods high in omega-3s, such as certain seeds or nuts. You could sprinkle them on your fruit salad. Just a serving can help you meet your daily needs!
9. Avocado is a key ingredient to a post-workout fruit salad
Eating avocado after exercise is beneficial for athletes. It’s a super food. Avocado is much more than a great vegan source of omega-3s. It’s packed with protein, fiber, and carotenoids. Also, avocado enhances electrolyte replenishment. It’s particularly high in magnesium and potassium.
10. How to add protein to your post-workout fruit salad?
Moreover, it’s important to consume protein after strenuous exercise. Protein builds muscle mass, and it’s key for muscle recovery.
Not only do bodybuilders have increased protein requirements, so do endurance athletes.
Firstly, you could add half an avocado to your post-workout fruit salad. Avocado is the only fruit high in protein.
Also, you could sprinkle hemp powder or seeds on your fruit salad. Not only are hemp seeds high in protein, but also they’re among the few vegan foods with a complete protein. They contain all essential amino acids!
Additionally, you could enjoy your fruit salad with Greek yogurt. It’s an excellent source of high-quality, bioavailable protein.
Certainly, the easiest way to boost your protein intake is to drink a protein shake at your post-workout meal.
11. Drink a glass of water with your fruit salad
Above all, hard-training athletes should drink a lot of water during and after the gym. Proper hydration is vital for physical performance.
Moreover, drinking water with a meal high in fiber and protein promotes the feeling of fullness for hours! That’s beneficial for people who want to build a lean body.
As a rule of thumb, we should drink at least 64 oz of water a day.
12. You can add dried fruits to your favorite post-workout salad
After exhaustive exercise, the body has increased insulin sensitivity, while its glycogen stores are depleted. Hence, hard-training athletes benefit by consuming foods high in sugar right after a workout.
Actually, the best time of the day to consume sugar is after the gym!
Dried fruits have significantly more sugar per serving than fresh fruits. For instance, dried banana has almost 4 times more sugar than raw banana.
How long after exercise can I eat a fruit salad?
As a rule of thumb, the first post-workout snack better be high in easily digested net carbs. It’s preferable to eat white bread or jelly right after strenuous exercise than any other food high in fiber.
Also, we should eat foods high in glucose right after exercise, as it’s easily absorbed by the muscles.
On the other hand, fruits are mainly fructose. Fructose isn’t easily absorbed by the muscles, though. It has to be metabolized by the liver first. Thus, fruit salad better be the second post-workout snack.
What’s the best time of the day to eat a fruit salad?
We can eat a cup of fruit salad at any time of the day.
Eating a fruit salad at breakfast supports weight loss and protects the eyes, hair, and skin from oxidative stress, due to sunlight and air pollution.
Also, you can eat a fruit bowl before a calorie-dense meal. It can help regulate total energy intake.
Even a cup of fruit salad before bed has beneficial effects on weight loss and sleep!