When you think of the best post-workout foods, you probably focus on carbs and protein, because those are often recommended for tired muscles. But did you know calcium is another important post-workout nutrient? Apparently your body benefits from milk, cheese, and other calcium-rich foods post-workout. Here’s what you need to know about the science behind it, plus an idea of which calcium-filled foods you should eat after you exercise.
If you workout in the morning, you’ll want to read: The 10 best foods to eat after morning workouts
How Certain Nutrients Help Your Body Recover
You’re probably starving after a workout, and it’s important to heed those hunger pangs as soon as you can. But don’t just eat anything; you should give your body what it needs after working out—and that’s typically nutrients that include carbs and protein.
Why carbs? Well, you use up the glycogen stored in your muscles any time you get in a good workout. That means you need to replace it, or risk your body breaking down your muscle tissue after exercise. If you’re working out to build muscle, you especially don’t want this! Similarly, protein can help repair your muscles and encourage them to grow, making it one of the nutrients needed to strength train.
But do you know what else helps muscles recover, according to recent studies? Milk and chocolate milk! Apparently, researchers have found that people who drink either regular or flavored milk have less muscle damage after a workout than those who simply drink water or juice. Sure, one of the main reasons for this is that milk has protein in it, which naturally benefits muscles. But there’s something else in milk that helps the body after a good workout, and that’s calcium.
How Calcium-Rich Foods Post-Workout Can Impact You
If you’re not sold on the idea of drinking milk after a workout, you might change your mind once you realize how it helps your body. As you likely know, calcium strengthens the bones, but it also benefits muscle function. In fact, you need calcium to properly contract your muscles, so it’s pretty important to have enough of this in your body to get in a good workout.
And of course, the fact that calcium boosts your bone strength is nothing to ignore when you’re looking for calcium-rich foods post-workout. You can’t exactly exercise if your skeleton is too weak to support your body, or if you have a broken bone due to insufficient calcium levels. Note that when you sweat a lot—such as during an intense workout—you lose crucial nutrients, including calcium. Your body then tries to replace it by freeing up the calcium in your bones, meaning this nutrient leaves your body unless you’re diligent about eating or drinking beverages and calcium-rich foods post-workout.
To get started incorporating more calcium into your diet, read: Calcium-Rich Foods You Should Eat Every Day
What to Eat After a Workout
It should be clear now that your post-workout breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack should contain carbs, protein, and calcium. Some examples include the following:
- Turkey and cheese roll-ups with a side of your favorite fruit for a powerful protein, calcium, and carb combo
- Tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat bread, using Greek yogurt instead of mayo to mix with the tuna
- Steak and eggs made any way, such as an omelet or scramble
- Chocolate milk with a side of almonds
- Protein shake with a packet of FitFormula calcium powder
In fact, you can add FitFormula to any of these foods to ensure you’re getting at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day! This will surely benefit your muscles, bones and your body as a whole while you work toward getting into better shape.
For more ideas on what to eat after your morning workout, check out: 10 Muscle-Building Post-Workout Breakfasts
Other Resources on the topic of calcium-rich post-workout foods for men:
Can Calcium Supplements Protect Against Exercise-Related Bone Loss?
Why Chocolate Milk Is An Effective Recovery Drink for Athletes
Men: Here Is How Much Calcium You Need and Why