You could pop a couple of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce the pain and soreness that can be associated with exercise, or you could eat some sweet potatoes, oranges, strawberries, ginger, and pineapple, for example.
Each of these foods (and there are many others) has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can actually help to strengthen your soft tissue (muscles, ligaments and tendons).
Fruit and vegetables containing vitamin C act as a stimulus for the formation of collagen. Collagen is a key constituent of soft tissue. The strength and stiffness of soft tissue is very much a product of how much collagen there is in it. Stiffer tendons are less prone to injury and can produce greater force. Exercise stimulates collagen in very much the same way as load baring exercise does bones, thus ensuring optimum vitamin C consumption will boost the production of collagen during recovery.
Vitamin C is equally important when it comes to maximising iron consumption, crucial for optimum endurance performance.
Strawberries contain phenols and these can combat many inflammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis. Inflammation is your body’s response to injury or infection.
Like most orange-coloured vegetables sweet potatoes are great sources of vitamin A and beta carotene, and as well as vitamin C they contain other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, the B complex vitamins and the mineral potassium. This makes them an equally great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Ginger has also been shown in studies to reduce the incidence of the delayed on-set of muscle soreness (DOMS).
Pineapples contain bromelain – a substance that has also been found through research to be very beneficial in reducing the pain, swelling and bruising associated with musculoskeletal injuries.
So, in future, perhaps you should think before reaching for a ‘pain pill’ and instead reach for some ginger or any of the other fruits and vegetables mentioned above.
Your fruit bowl could become your medicine cabinet!