More and more people are discovering the longevity and vitality that leading a healthy lifestyle can bring. They are eating more nutritious foods, getting good sleep at night and working out regularly.
All of these factors culminate to support good overall health, but it is possible to derive even more benefit from workouts when the body receives supplements that drive more efficient recovery.
During a workout, the muscles lengthen as stress is applied to them. This stress results in micro-tears in the muscles that the body heals after the exercise session. The body naturally fills in those tears, making the muscles larger.
However, this is not always the most efficient process, particularly if the body is not getting the support it needs through herbal supplements. These eight herbs are scientifically proven to be beneficial to muscle recovery after a workout. Moreover, they help to regulate the inflammatory response to exercise while also providing a steadier supply of energy throughout the day. Supplementing with any one or several of these herbs may kick-start any exercise routine and the body’s response to it.
Chefs love adding turmeric to recipes to dial up the flavor, but this delicious spice also has many benefits to human health. One of these benefits is the ability to ease inflammation. Curcumins are an active component of the herb. Not only do they give turmeric its distinctive yellow hue, but they also they provide essential antioxidant support that helps with a healthy inflammatory response.
Inflammation is a natural part of the post-workout process. Healthy inflammation is what helps muscles to get bigger and stronger, which also makes them more resilient. Problems, like muscle soreness, occur when the inflammatory response goes into overdrive. Turmeric regulates this process, keeping everything in line so that muscles can grow and recover without getting sore.
Studies suggest that curcumin has many positive effects on human health (1). Adding it to a post-workout routine also may aid anxiety and ease arthritis among other benefits.
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2. Green Tea
Both athletes and ordinary exercisers must work to maintain muscle mass as they age. Scientists have discovered numerous uses for green tea to support health in humans (2), including the ability to foster muscle growth.
For instance, green tea helps to process carbs in a healthy manner so that they can provide essential fuel for upcoming workouts. Add a bit more caffeine to a green tea drink and the substance may even create better endurance. Of particular interest, one study demonstrated that green tea helps to build muscle mass in those who regularly train with weights in addition to older adults who are subject to age-induced loss of muscle (3).
With its ability to provide a needed boost of energy before or after a workout and its ability to help the body process blood sugar more efficiently, green tea is a natural choice for after any workout. This is especially true for anyone who is attempting to gain or maintain muscle mass.
Find it here: Green Tea Extract, 1000mg GMO-Free
Part of the herb group known as adaptogens, ashwagandha may be a critical supplement for everyone from elite athletes to ordinary people who are just trying to stay in shape. An adaptogen is an herb that balances androgen in the body, and this helps people to react in a healthier manner to stress in all of its many forms. This is critical because stress causes the body to flood with the stress hormone known as cortisol. When the body has too much cortisol, it is far more resistant to fat burning.
Studies suggest that regular use of ashwagandha builds muscle endurance and strength (4). In fact, it is possible for Ashwagandha to increase oxygen intake by 13 percent during a workout. This increased intake opens the door for working at peak performance for a longer period of time during an exercise session.
Ashwagandha also is a fantastic herb for workout recovery. It protects the body from repetitive strain, building the foundation for intensity increases in the future. Frequently, people who regularly use ashwagandha find that they feel less overall fatigue after working out.
Find it here: Bayan Botanicals Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder
More commonly known as Indian Frankincense, Boswellia has long been popular in Ayurvedic practice. Traditional use related to managing occasional aches and pains. Boswellia further is used to inhibit particular enzymes to promote a healthier inflammatory response.
Among the other benefits of Indian Frankincense is improved blood flow to connective tissues. This supports healthier joints so that they experience less pain and inflammation. Accordingly, people who regularly supplement with boswellia may have fewer joint concerns. Less joint pain will contribute to being able to engage in more strenuous workouts and a lifetime of healthy exercise.
Studies suggest that boswellia’s positive effects on human health are numerous (5). The active components in the herb are believed to help with apoptosis, which is the culmination of the life cycle of a healthy cell. This promotes the growth of healthy tissue, which may be key for adding muscle size and density.
In fact, it appears to be wise to combine turmeric with boswellia for maximum effect. Research suggests that the curcumins in turmeric have a synergistic relationship with the healing components in boswellia. Combine the two for an even bigger impact to workout recovery.
Find it here: Boswellia Extract 500mg, NonGMO
More commonly known as Siberian ginseng, eleuthero root was originally cultivated in Siberia. It is an adaptogen like ashwagandha, and scientists have shown that it supports healthy blood sugar levels. Eleuthero also ensures the proper use of phosphorus compounds in the body that are responsible for providing the fuel that is needed for cellular processes.
After an intense workout, many people experience lactic acid buildup in the muscles. Characterized by sensations of soreness and heaviness, lactic acid can lead to intense delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. In a study, researchers found that supplementing with eleuthero every day for eight weeks increased oxygen intake levels in the muscles by as much as 12 percent (6). It also assists with the breakdown of lactic acid, which means fewer instances of muscle soreness after an intense exercise session. This translates to the ability to dial up the intensity of workouts without experiencing extreme muscle soreness.
Eleuthero also transports magnesium and vitamin C to the adrenal glands, an essential process that helps the body to adapt to stress. Accordingly, this may help to build endurance.
Find it here: Taiga Gold Eleutherococcus Root Extract
While it may be primarily considered a boost to sexual health in men and women (7), maca may offer significant benefits to the athlete too.
Maca root was originally cultivated in Peru where it was used by ancient Incan warriors to give themselves strength and stamina. Growing best in the high-altitude mountains of Peru, maca provides energy and stamina throughout the day. People may notice its beneficial effects before, during and after a workout. Maca is an adaptogenic herb, which means that it helps the human body to cope with stress whether it is mental, emotional or physical.
Maca further has muscle-building properties that help people to put on size and increase muscular endurance. Much of this muscle growth occurs after working out, so maca is a critical part of any recovery period.
Find it here: Single Origin USDA Organic Maca Extract
The roots of rhodiola rosea are adatogens, so supplementing with them helps the body to adapt to stress. In fact, the roots are known to contain in excess of 140 active ingredients. Many of these have been used for centuries in Scandinavian countries and Russia to treat depression, anxiety and fatigue.
Studies back up these uses (8). Rhodiola’s beneficial effects on feelings of fatigue are well documented. Any athletes who experience considerable physical fatigue after workouts may find that their energy levels are better regulated when they supplement with rhodiola.
Moreover, rhodiola helps with recovery after a workout. One study found that athletes demonstrated better endurance during exercise when they supplemented with rhodiola (9). This additionally translated to improved recovery times.
Find it here: Rhodiola Rosea Root Powder Extract
8. American Ginseng
A well-known herb among Native Americans, American ginseng also was used in the 19th century to aid healthy digestion and ease the nervous system. Today, the herb is recognized as an adaptogen. It further is known to improve oxygen uptake and the metabolism of lactic acid. This means that it is an ideal supplement for post-workout recovery.
Many athletes additionally use American ginseng to build endurance and stamina. Weight lifters use it because they believe that it supports healthy muscle growth, particularly in the biceps. Further, American ginseng is thought to prevent the body from storing excess fat.
Ginseng has anti-inflammatory properties (10) to help regulate post-workout recovery. People who regularly use this supplement generally experience less tiredness, helping them to remain active before and after exercise (11).
Find it here: NusaPure American Ginseng 500mg