Maximize the Benefits of Exercise: Eat the Right Food at the Right Time

Maximize the Benefits of Exercise: Eat the Right Food at the Right Time

So you’ve added the exercise your doctor recommends. You are walking the golf course, doing the Wii Fit, or getting groovy in water aerobics. You’re burning calories for better heart health and lowering cholesterol.

Great job! So here’s a simple tip for maximizing the benefits of your workouts: eat the right foods, right after you finish.  

Researchers determined that eating certain proteins and carbohydrates together after a workout can dramatically increase your recovery and conditioning. In addition to replenishing fluids, the body needs carbohydrates to bounce back efficiently. Additionally, it uses proteins to aid in muscle building and recovery.

Amino acids found in such foods as nuts, beans, wholemeal bread,  brown rice or protein bars can be paired with fast-burning carbohydrates in a 4:1 ratio, according to studies. When eaten within 15 minutes of the end of the workout, it will maximize the benefits of any strength building you have done.

Some suggestions for what to eat? How about carrots or celery dipped in peanut butter and rolled in trail mix? Another winner is black beans and brown rice. Like it sweet? Try rice pudding, or cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. For food to go, grab chocolate milk or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wholewheat bread. Lean meats and yogurt are great too.

The key? Drink plenty of water, eat proteins from whole food sources, and consume simple carbs. The muscles need to store glycogen fast to recover, and that comes from sugar. Meanwhile, the proteins will burn more slowly, for longer term muscle growth.

Every wellness expert says regular exercise is critical to keeping your body young. And by eating the right foods at the right time, you give your body the best tools for making the most of your exercise practice.

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