Treating Sore Muscles with Plants
"Optimizing recovery from exercise is considered the holy grail of exercise science. Anyone who works out regularly knows about sore muscles. There's the burning sensation during strenuous exercise, which may be related to the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles, and then there's delayed-onset muscle soreness, the kind you get in the days following extreme physical activity. Delayed soreness is likely the result of inflammation caused by microtears in your muscles and can adversely affect athletic performance in the days following a heavy workout. If you're suffering from an inflammatory reaction, might anti-inflammatory phytonutrients help? The bioflavonoids in citrus can help with the lactic acid buildup, but you may need to ramp up to the anthocyanin flavonoids in berries to deal with the inflammation.
Muscle biopsies of athletes have confirmed that eating blueberries, for example, can significantly reduce exercise-induced inflammation. Studies using cherries show that this anti-inflammatory effect can translate into faster recovery time, reducing the strength loss from excessive bicep curling from 22 percent down to only 4 percent in male college students over the subsequent four days. The muscle-soothing effects of berries don't only work for weight lifters; follow-up studies have shown that cherries can also help reduce muscle pain in long-distance runners and aid in recovery from marathons.
Eating two cups of watermelon prior to intense physical activity was also found to significantly reduce muscle soreness. The researchers concluded that functional compounds in fruits and vegetables can "play a key role in the design of new natural and functional products" like beverages, juices, and energy bars. But why design new products when nature has already designed everything you need?"
Source: "How Not To Die" by Michael Greger, M.D.