Understanding Inflammation and Healing for Athletes

Female Athlete

As athletes who train for races, competitions, or daily/weekly goals we must remember that our tissues are in a constant state of healing. Our muscles tear then repair which increases the body’s state of inflammation or swelling. Since intense workouts create inflammation, it’s important to decrease the amount of stress on our bodies by choosing the right foods. Basically, we want to heal as efficiently as possible to keep our body running smoothly, and the foods we choose make a big difference.

Another common issue with athletes is that the nutrients that are expended do not get replenished adequately, so it’s important to load up your diet with nutrient-dense foods. 

To minimize the effects of inflammation we can avoid certain foods and add certain foods to our diets. Here are some tips:

1. Hydrate

Hydrate throughout the day. After your workout, rehydrate with natural electrolytes such as coconut water. Grab a green juice a couple of times a week.

2. Add a Daily Multivitamin

A daily multivitamin can be a good insurance policy to supplement your diet and be sure all of your bases are covered. We offer a great multivitamin in the Be Well store, or a Daily Dose kit which includes a multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D and probiotic.

3. Avoid Inflammatory Foods

Since you have already created inflammation by working out, it’s crucial to avoid inflammatory foods. The worst offenders are sugar, gluten and alcohol.

4. Eat Anti-inflammatory Foods

Here are a few great foods that will help to decrease inflammation:

  • Turmeric 
  • Kelp 
  • Broccoli 
  • Bok choy 
  • High chlorophyll foods like parsley, cilantro and kale
  • Wild-caught salmon 
  • Papaya
  • Blueberries 
  • Green tea

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  • Michele

    What about the role of protein in healing muscles? Would protein after workouts also aid in reducing inflammation as it is repairing?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Michele, this article focuses on healing systemic inflammation rather than the body’s ability to repair muscle. But yes, protein is essential in muscle reparation and is very important!
    -Laura, Be Well Health Coach

  • Molly

    Does this also work for a relatively healthy body over 60 years old that wants to be active but results in increased fatigue and achiness post moderate activity? And yes, thyroid levels are normal.