The Shopping List your muscles will love

When you think about nutrient recovery, you probably think about foods that can replenish glycogen stores, repair muscles, and sooth inflammation—common after-effects of a long run.

But it’s not only muscles that need postworkout attention. Your soft tissues take a beating. And soft tissues, including the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that connect and support joints and organs, need some attention, too.

While soft tissues need to replenish depleted nutrients to start the repair process, they have minimal circulation. With a little effort, you can easily incorporate common foods and some supplements that will work to support increased lubrication and overall joint health, as well as increase circulation to tissues, muscles, and organs.

For overall support of joint health try:

Glucosamine: Glucosamine is a natural supplement found in the body. It plays a key role in building cartilage and nourishing soft tissue. Glucosamine is typically sold in supplement form, as it’s naturally found in marine animals shells and animal cartilage. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can opt for a vegetarian supplement, typically derived from corn. Taking a daily glucosamine supplement has been shown to keep your joints strong and well lubricated.

For increased circulation:

Ginger, Turmeric, Cinnamon and Cayenne: Spicy and warming herbs and spices such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and ginger have components (capsaicin in cayenne) that increase circulation. Ginger, similar to spicy cayenne, is also known to help jumpstart blood flow, as can turmeric root, which has anti-inflammatory properties as well.

For increased lubrication of joints:

Omega-3s Essential fatty acids (omega-3s) found in foods such as salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, and hemp hearts play a critical role in joint lubrication with their ability to improve the circulation of nutrients in the body. They’re also known for their inflammation-fighting ability. Stocking your pantry with these foods will make it more likely to incorporate them in your daily diet. Plus, they’re nutrient-dense foods your body will benefit from in many other ways.

Here’s your quick shopping list:

Glucosamine supplement

Wild-caught salmon (try buying single portions to stash in the freezer)

Ground flaxseed (store in the freezer to prevent rancidity)

Raw walnuts

Hemp hearts



Cayenne pepper

Turmeric (root or spice)


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