In the second of this 4-part series we’re talking about how you can tailor your nutrition plan to minimise the risk of getting delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs).

In part 1 we talked about what exactly DOMS is and whether it’s a good or a bad thing. In part 3, we’ll be looking at herbs and supplements to speed up recovery and reduce the soreness. In part 4 we’ll be looking at what you can do to reduce the possibility of being sore after your workout and what to do when you’ve gone hard and can’t walk the next day.

What foods reduce DOMS?

It’s all about your overall nutrition. Reducing the risk of getting DOMS is more about your overall nutrition rather than what you eat before, during or after your workout. Favouring nutrient dense foods which generally show up as a rainbow of mouth watering colour is the key. If your plate is made up entirely of beige food, then you need to up your nutrition and get more veges on that plate.

Why are we focusing on colourful food? Because your body needs a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. A diet rich in antioxidants, polyphenols (found in the purple and deep red colours) and essential fatty acids sets you up for a great workout, and more importantly a great recovery. So focus on good quality proteins, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids from a wide variety of sources.

Essential fatty acids can be found in foods from the sea and particular vegetables, nuts and seeds. Sea based sources include salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna and herring. Vegetable sources include broccoli, chia, walnuts and seaweeds.

What about your post workout nutrition?

Research has found that a branched-chain amino acid called leucine can reduce the likelihood of developing DOMS. It is found in milk, whey and eggs. Like all things dietary, it’s about everything in balance, because too much leucine can reduce Target Of Rapamycin (TOR) activity which is involved in healthy aging and reducing inflammation.

Researchers have found that a combination of antioxidants and protein is the key to reducing DOMS. One study found 31g of whey protein hydrolysate combined with 100mg of the antioxidant supplement OptiBerry to be very effective. OptiBerry is a berry powder that contains wild blueberry, bilberry, cranberry, elderberry, raspberry seeds, and strawberry. These berries have different anthocyanins (the dark red to purple berries) in them.

My recommendation is too eat a wide variety of nutrient dense foods, limit the refined carbohydrates and sugars and drink enough water to be hydrated. Then post workout, have a protein-antioxidant combination such as this post workout green smoothie.

I’ve put together a recipe book that contains 7 quick energy boosting breakfasts, all of which make great post workout snacks.