3 Foods That May Help to Prevent Muscle Soreness After Exercise

3 Foods That May Help to Prevent Muscle Soreness After Exercise

(Last Updated On: March 19, 2019)

Washing cherriesIt’s exhilarating to finish a tough workout. To feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes from a job well done. Unfortunately, if you haven’t been working out long or have recently changed your routine, your muscles may feel the after-effects a few days later in the form of post-exercise muscles soreness. The official name for sore muscles after a workout is DOMS, an abbreviation for delayed-onset muscle soreness. DOMS usually makes its appearance 24 to 72 hours after a training session where you exercise muscles that aren’t properly conditioned. A good case of DOMS can leave sore and aching for a few days, but there’s good news. You may be able to reduce soreness after a workout by changing what you eat. Here are three foods that science shows can help post-exercise muscle soreness.

Tart Cherries

Drinking two ounces of tart cherry juice a day could offer protection against delayed-onset muscle soreness. When researchers at the London South Bank University in the U.K. gave athletes an ounce of tart cherry juice twice a day seven days before and two days after a challenging workout, their muscles recovered faster from the challenges of heavy exercise.

Tart cherries are a good source of anthocyanins, natural anti-inflammatory pigments that give them their cherry-red color. Tart cherries have some of the same benefits as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications – without the side-effects. Enjoy a glass of this lip-puckering juice before and after your workout, or take a tart cherry extract to get the anti-inflammatory benefits directly from nature – not a prescription bottle.


Have a serving of salmon after your daily workout, and you may have less post-workout soreness. Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that have natural anti-inflammatory properties. According to a study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, taking omega-3 fatty acids reduced markers for inflammation after a strenuous exercise session. And don’t forget their other health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for heart health and blood pressure too. Don’t like the taste of salmon? Take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement instead, but talk to your doctor first. People who are on blood thinners or who have a bleeding disorder shouldn’t take omega3s.

Chocolate Milk

Think chocolate milk is just for kids? Turns out it’s for serious athletes too. One study showed that soccer players who drank low-fat chocolate milk after a strenuous workout experienced more rapid muscle recovery than those who drank a commercial sports drink. Even though the players didn’t report differences in muscle soreness, they had lower levels of a marker for muscle damage.

The best way to enjoy a glass of chocolate milk after a workout is with a scoop of whey protein. Whey protein not only helps to build muscle, it too reduces markers for muscle damage. Try whipping up a post-workout chocolate shake with yogurt and whey protein for a muscle-soothing drink.

The Bottom Line?

Nature has her own ways to relieving muscle soreness. Reduce muscle soreness after a workout naturally by changing what you eat.


Clinical Journal Sport medicine. 21: 131-137, 2011.
Eurekalert.org. “New Research Suggests Tart Cherries Could Speed Muscle Recovery”
American College of Sports Medicine. “Effects of Chocolate Milk Consumption on Markers of Muscle Recovery During Intensified Soccer Training”. 2009.


Related Articles:

Is It Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness or an Injury?

How to Work Out When You’re Sore & Why You Should

Exercise Recovery: Can the Way You Recover from Exercise Impact Your Fitness Gains?

Ouch! Should You Work Out with Sore Muscles or Take a Rest Day?

Using Nutrition to Prevent and Relieve Post-Workout Soreness

Does Foam Rolling Reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?

3 thoughts on “3 Foods That May Help to Prevent Muscle Soreness After Exercise

  1. This is true I have a tart cherry tree (North Star) in my back yard and eat them for soreness. It also helps for arthritis joint pain. I forgot my username to get into my STS account. Can you help me with this? I have tried to make a ticker but am not able to, thanks.

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