When you’re nursing a hamstring tweak or just feeling a bit battered after training, certain recovery foods such as fruit high in Vitamin C can help you out. You’ll want to get back playing as quickly as possible from injury – and recover as soon as you can from a match.
Cruising after a bruising
If their No.8 has turned you black and blue, then head for those recovery foods that are high in Vitamin C (to aid your blood vessels) and in Vitamin K (to promote blood clotting).
Raw spinach and strawberries are your friends in this instance – and try extra virgin olive oil, which is packed full of the anti-inflammatory compound oleocanthal. Other foods rich in Vitamins C and K include broccoli, citrus fruits, kiwi, kale, collard greens and peppers, so fix yourself up a post-match salad to banish those bruises.
You’ll need to look for recovery food full of protein, omega-3 fats and potassium if you’ve pulled a muscle or tweaked your hamstring. So, in terms of meals, a dish such as smoked salmon on wild rice will help get you match-fit once more.
Add a side of broccoli, which is packed with anthocyanins, a plant compound that reduces inflammation, so add that to your meal. For dessert, have some plain yoghurt topped with blueberries. With some rest, you’ll feel much better.
Making the cut better
We all get cuts when playing rugby, so we all need the right recovery food. Protein aids the production of skin cells – treat yourself to a lean beef pattie, but pack it out with oats to save money, boost the burger’s size and calm down the damaged tissue.
Lean beef has masses of iron, which oxygenates your blood, and a fresh squeezed lemon drink contains the Vitamin C you require to protect your collagen and connective tissue.
Styling your cramps
The muscle soreness you will feel after training and game day relies on a lot of rehydration to go away. Drink plenty of water at all times after exerting yourself on the field.
Melon and watermelon are rich in electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride, so chop up both into a medley and munch away as soon as you can when feeling cramp. The electrolytes will restore a little order in those aching muscles.
Shore up your shins
Endless hours pounding pavements and even treadmills can cause agonising shin splints, so think about these recovery foods after a run. Pineapples contain bromelain to stop inflammation, and omega3-rich fish such as mackerel, tuna and salmon performs the same role.
Why not wash down your post-game tuna sandwich with squeezed lemon with a glass of fresh pineapple juice? If you have a history of shin splints, it’s a good idea to add pineapple to your breakfasts – it remains a king of recovery food.
The full A to Z
Zinc boosts your immune system to prevent injury and heals your tissue by getting your body to use fats and protein. Nuts, seeds, chicken and oysters are full of the stuff, so they should be part of your recovery shopping list.
Another great injury-healer and immune-system-booster is Vitamin A. It speeds up the production of white blood cells, so stock up on sunflower seeds, spinach and carrots.