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7 Foods You Must Eat (If You Exercise Regularly!)

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

When you exercise regularly, your nutritional needs change. The additional requirements range from an increase of protein, minerals, vitamins, fluids and antioxidants. These help to keep the body functioning correctly, aid in muscle synthesis and reduce oxidative damage caused by the stress of exercise. Below are 7 foods you should add to your diet if you exercise regularly.


Why - Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates for after an intense workout and provide many essential vitamins and minerals which may reduce inflammation (1).

How - Sweet potatoes are a starchy carbohydrate that helps to replenish muscle glycogen (the sugar stored in the muscles) once they become depleted after exercise. This replenishment, coupled with an intake of protein can lead to improved muscle mass and recovery times.

Antioxidants help to reduce oxidative damage caused by stress (exercise is a stress) and sweet potatoes contain good amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin E, beta carotene, chlorogenic acid and anthocyanin (if you find purple sweet potatoes).

Guidelines - One medium regular sweet potato (130g) contains 112kcal and 26g of carbohydrates.


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Why - Berries contain high levels of antioxidants which can help to reverse the damage caused by exercise.

How - Anthocyanins are antioxidants that are found in dark coloured fruit and vegetables such as berries, beetroot and purple sweet potatoes. As mentioned above, antioxidants help to reduce oxidative damage caused by stress. In addition to this, blueberries have been shown to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) (2).

Guidelines - Grab a handful of seasonal, organic berries or add them to your post-workout smoothie.


Why - Omega-3 fatty acids are fantastic antioxidants and aid in cellular signalling.

How - EPA and DHA, the main fatty acids in omega-3, have been shown to reduce DOMS and aid in muscular function (3). Omega-3 consumption has also been shown to provide a vast array of health benefits ranging from heart-protective to autoimmune (4).

Guidelines - Obtain omega-3 fatty acids either in supplement form or, preferably, from whole foods such as wild-caught salmon or cod.