My relationship with running would best be defined as one of serious love and hate. I have always associated it as a mandatory, evil activity in gym class, dragging myself through the regularly scheduled mile run. That is, until I decided to try and incorporate running into my regular workout routine considering everyone around me seemed to be singing praises about it and how wonderful it was. Fortunately or unfortunately, the hype was real.
Running works out most major muscles in your body such as legs, butt, abs and even arms – plus, it’s great for heart health. I began running regularly and definitely noticed the benefits, but also became aware of how sore my joints and muscles were after running. With so many muscles working in unison and regularly pounding the pavement, some muscle aches and inflammation are bound to happen. At first I ignored the pain, would swallow an Advil, and figured my body just hadn’t adapted to running yet. As the pain continued, I began investigating inflammation in the body and its connection to working out. I discovered that inflammation of joints and muscles is the body’s natural response when injury or overuse occur. So instead of taking anti-inflammatories everyday like Advil, Motrin or Aleve, I learned how to adapt my diet to reduce inflammation overall.
Diets high in simple carbs like white bread, pasta, cereal and sugars are agents for increased inflammation. They spike your blood sugar and cause inflammation all over the body, so you can end up feeling puffy and bloated on top of whatever running-related pain you may have. By modifying your diet to include more complex carbs that help stabilize blood sugar like oats, sweet potatoes and beans, you’ll gain more energy and reduce the chance of inflammation. Additionally, foods like leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grains are excellent sources of antioxidants that make the blood oxygen-rich, which helps with muscle repair and recovery.
My personal favorite natural anti-inflammatories come in the form of spices ginger and tumeric. I was once told by a doctor to incorporate turmeric into my diet to help with a joint pain in my hip. He told me to make a tumeric tea with the below recipe everyday to aid in muscle repair, joint inflammation and brain function.
1 cup coconut or almond milk
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp ginger powder
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil
Throw everything in the blender, blend until smooth, and transfer to a pot on the stove. Heat in until small bubbles appear. Side note, the black pepper is a v important ingredient here since it activates the tumeric and helps your body absorb its nutrients and healing powers.
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