So we hear a lot about “post workout” food choices. In fact there probably millions of blogs right now talking about this topic. But what exactly IS post workout nutrition and why should you care about it? If you eat healthy all the time, does it really matter? Well, the short answer is yes, it actually does.
First of all it is important to know that your body deals with nutrients differently at different times, depending on your level of activity. So by consuming specifically targeted nutrients after your workouts you can greatly improve your body composition, performance, and overall recovery. There are five things that a great post-workout snack can do for your body:
- Increase protein synthesis to help build more muscle or improve muscle quality
- Replenish your glycogen stores to get back your energy
- Decrease breakdown of the muscle, which is essentially repairing any damage caused by your workout
- Improve your body’s ability to utilize body fat
- Improve your immune function
Studies have shown that the proper post workout snack can help increase new protein synthesis while slowing down protein breakdown, a process called protein turnover. There is also the need for the body to quickly access carbohydrates for filling up the glycogen stores that were emptied out during the workout. There is a small window of opportunity after a workout in which your body is perfectly primed to accept nutrients for maximum advantage.
The best post workout snacks are the ones that contain fast digesting carbohydrates and proteins. Skip the processed protein powders that tax your liver, and forget the high fat “protein bars” that are ubiquitous in gyms across the world. Head instead to the produce in your kitchen (it is in there, right?) and make one of these three totally raw, totally vegan, totally powerful recovery smoothies that will help your body get the nourishment it needs after a good workout.
- 2 frozen very ripe organic bananas
- 2 kiwis
- 1 cup coconut water
- 3 tbs organic hemp seeds
Blend and Enjoy! Kiwi is one of the most anti-oxidant rich fruits, and contains high amounts of Vitamin C, along with potassium, lutein (carotenoid that protects your vision), minerals and other essential nutrients. Hemp seeds provide a complete source of protein as they contain all eight essential amino acids in sufficient quantities to meet the body’s needs. Hemp protein is also very easy to digest. It contains two types of proteins, edestin and albumin, which are both globular proteins. Globular proteins dissolve easily and are readily accessible for the body to use. This kiwi smoothie also contains plenty of fast digesting carbohydrates and electrolytes from the banana and coconut water.
RAWKIN RASPBERRY ORANGE CHIA
- 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
- 2 oranges
- 2 tbs chia seeds
Blend and Enjoy! This smoothie provides you with incredibly anti-oxidant rich berries, oranges packed with Vitamin C, and lots of fast digesting carbohydrates from the fruit. Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which means they are great for digestion. Chia seeds also help boost the immune system because they are high in antioxidants, while helping to prolong hydration.
MAGICAL MANGO LIME
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 1 1/2 cups cup of frozen mango
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 lime
I can’t say for sure if this smoothie has any special powers, but for me anything with mango is pure magic. Mangos contain phenols, which have been proven to help reduce risk of various cancers, in addition to providing excellent fast-absorbing carbohydrates. Mangos and bananas are both high in antioxidants and potassium. The almond milk provides you with essential protein and B vitamins that are important for muscle growth and healing.
Have a great workout and then enjoy one of these super simple raw vegan smoothies!