Eating raw strawberries after exercise is beneficial for athletes, as they may:
- speed up recovery
- promote muscle growth and strength
- improve physical performance
- help sleep better at night
- boost the immune system
- relieve muscle pain
- improve blood circulation
Vitamin C, melatonin, folate, fiber, anthocyanins, and other flavonoids in strawberries make them such a great post-workout snack.
Vitamin C in strawberries for recovery
Firstly, raw strawberries are a great post-workout snack because they’re packed with vitamin C. Actually, strawberries are among the richest fruits in vitamin C. Just a cup provides almost 100% of the Daily Value.
High vitamin C dosages have beneficial effects on building muscle mass! Vitamin C helps athletes recover faster after strenuous exercise. It helps neutralize exercise-induced oxidative stress.
Adequate amounts of vitamin C help athletes do regularly intense workouts.
But, athletes should avoid consuming extremely high dosages of vitamin C from dietary supplements. Too much vitamin C may have detrimental effects on muscle hypertrophy! Only reasonable amounts from food are good for athletic performance.
Benefits of Melatonin for athletes
Additionally, strawberries are among the richest foods in melatonin. Melatonin plays a key role in physical performance.
Eating foods high in melatonin after strenuous exercise has many benefits for athletes. For instance, melatonin helps replenish muscle glycogen stores and neutralize exercise-induced free radicals.
Athletes could eat strawberries as a functional food that limits muscle frailty.
Strawberries may increase blood flow
Moreover, certain bioactive compounds in strawberries could improve blood circulation. These compounds may play a key role in the synthesis of nitric oxide.
Hence, athletes could benefit by consuming a wide variety of plant-based foods naturally high in nitrates.
Strawberries may help you Sleep
Melatonin is also known as the “sleep hormone”. It regulates sleeping patterns.
So, eating strawberries or other foods high in melatonin at dinner may support a good night’s sleep, which is crucial for muscle hypertrophy and muscle recovery.
If you work out in the evening or at night, you could have double benefits by eating strawberries after exercise. Actually, a great time to eat raw strawberries is before bed.
A daily dosage of 3 mg seems to be more than enough to prolong sleep after strenuous exercise.
Strawberries boost the immune system
Furthermore, raw strawberries may have beneficial effects on immune function. They might protect from infections and inflammations.
Vitamin C, melatonin, and other antioxidant compounds in strawberries boost the immune system.
Athletes with fewer infections can perform more intense workouts per year. Frequent intense workouts are key for muscle growth, and better physical performance.
Even beginners can burn belly fat and build a lean body if they’re consistent to a training program for a long time.
Eat strawberries in the post-workout meal for a lean body
Moreover, eating strawberries as a post-workout snack supports a lean body because they regulate appetite. Fiber in strawberries promotes the feeling of fullness for a couple of hours. Especially, when combined with protein!
Also, vitamin C in strawberries is beneficial for a lean body, as it helps burn belly fat and regulate blood glucose levels.
Melatonin is crucial for a lean body as well. Among others, melatonin improves insulin sensitivity, increases energy metabolism, and helps the body burn belly fat.
In addition, sugar in strawberries regulates cravings for fattening food. It satisfies your sweet tooth with only a few calories.
May reduce muscle & joint pain
Raw strawberries are excellent dietary sources of phytochemicals. They’re particularly high in ellagic acid, anthocyanins, quercetin, and catechin.
But, processing methods may deteriorate the antioxidant capacity of strawberries. Raw strawberries have the maximum amount of antioxidants.
Anthocyanins and other bioactive polyphenolic compounds have potent neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming a lot of foods high in antioxidant compound, which fight inflammations, could help relieve muscle and joint pain.[5,6]
May promote muscle strength & growth
Moreover, strawberries are among the richest fruits in folate. They have about 24 mcg of folate per 100g. A cup provides 40 mcg of folate. Thus, a serving of raw strawberries provides 10% of the recommended daily intake.
Hence, it’s a good idea to add strawberries to your favorite post-workout fruit salad.
Strawberries may protect the heart of athletes!
Most noteworthy, long-term strenuous physical activity can have detrimental effects on folate status. This can be bad for the heart, as folate plays a key role in the metabolism of homocysteine.
Even people who follow a low-calorie diet for weight loss should get high dosages of folate from food in order to control homocysteine levels.
So, hard-training athletes who follow strict hypocaloric diets for a leaner body should consume a wide variety of foods high in folate.
How to eat strawberries after exercise?
Certainly, raw strawberries after exercise are the easiest and healthiest way to consume them.
On the contrary, athletes of bodybuilding should avoid frozen strawberries which are sweetened if they’re on cutting phase. They usually have too much added sugar and calories.
Also, you could add strawberries to your favorite post-workout smoothie. They provide flavor and make it creamy.
You should add protein powder to your post-workout smoothie. Not only is protein key for muscle hypertrophy and recovery, but also it keeps us full for a long time. A protein-rich diet supports a lean body.
Moreover, you could eat a high-quality strawberry jam after exercise. In fact, the best time of the day to consume added sugar is right after exercise. At that time, the body has increased insulin sensitivity. It stores sugar as muscle glycogen. This process speeds up recovery!
How many strawberries should athletes eat after exercise?
As strawberries are low in sugar and have only 53 calories per cup, athletes could eat more than a serving after a workout. They could eat even 2–3 cups of raw strawberries.
Raw strawberries without added sugar won’t make you fat.
In fact, according to a recent study, adults who consumed 21/2 servings of strawberries a day for 4 weeks had beneficial effects on their health. Especially in the cardiovascular system. Bioactive compounds in strawberries lowered elevated LDL cholesterol and improved insulin resistance.
Don’t eat strawberries before exercise
On the contrary, athletes shouldn’t eat strawberries right before a workout. Fiber in strawberries may affect physical performance and even cause stomach discomfort. Gas and stomach pain are common adverse effects.
Endurance athletes in particular should avoid consuming fiber at least 3 hours before a race!