The Best Superfoods to Eat After a Summer Workout

Woman running outside

Woman running outside | lzf/iStock/Getty Images

Exercising outside in the summer heat can be brutal. While it’s important to stay active, the hottest months of the year can make working out particularly draining. Luckily, certain superfoods can help keep you hydrated, motivated, and feeling great. Here are 8 of the best foods you could possibly eat after a summer workout.

Cherries

Different types of cherries will offer you a variety of benefits. After a workout, however, tart cherries will be your best option. Fresh tart cherries might not be readily available, unless you live in an area that grows them. Nevertheless, you can likely find dried or frozen options at your local grocery store.

According to NBC News, “Tart cherries and their juice have been shown to reduce oxidative damage from strength training and attenuate muscle soreness.”

Bell peppers

Be sure to stock up on bell peppers to throw into your salads for lunch or fajitas for dinner. They’ll provide your body with Vitamin C, which can be super beneficial after an intense workout. Vitamin C leads to collagen production, which could potentially relieve joint pain.

According to Angie Asche, MS, RD of Eleat Sports Nutrition, “A red bell pepper contains more than twice as much Vitamin C as an orange.” She explained, “[Vitamin C is] an antioxidant that also plays a huge role in the production of collagen, the most abundant protein in our body.”

Blueberries

Bowl of blueberries

Bowl of blueberries |Source: iStock

You’ll want to intake tons of antioxidants if you’re exercising outside in the summer — and blueberries will provide just that. “Athletes who consume berries prior to and after prolonged exercise experience less inflammation and oxidative stress,” Asche attests.

You’ll be relieved from muscle soreness, too — so why not keep your fridge stocked with a fresh carton of blueberries throughout the summer?

Beets

Most people either love or hate beets, but according to Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD and USAT Level I Triathlon Coach, any athlete should incorporate the vegetable into their diet. “Even though beets can be harvested for a fairly long growing season, they tend to peak in summer and fall,” she claims. “This is one superfood that should be in any athlete’s diet, thanks to their dietary nitrates, a component that increases blood and oxygen flow to the muscles.”

Asche stands by the importance of beets for optimal workout sessions. “Ample research has linked consumption of beetroot juice prior to exercise to increased performance,” she noted.

Watermelon

Hydration is one of the most important aspects of staying safe while exercising in the summer heat. Considering watermelon is made up of 92 percent water, it’s the perfect superfood to replenish and re-energize after sweating it out. Watermelon will restock your body with potassium and provide l-citrulline, which will keep your muscles from getting too sore.

Cucumbers

Sliced cucumber

Sliced cucumber | iStock

Like watermelon, cucumbers are made up of tons of water — 96 percent, in fact. Carroll explains, “Drinking water is vital, but mixing in foods with a high water content also helps with hydration.” Cucumbers can go with pretty much any meal: dipped in hummus, topped on a salad, or even infused into water.

Kiwi

Kiwi is a light and delicious treat at any time, but after a workout, it probably tastes better than ever. Plus, According to NBC News, “This tropical fruit contains two important electrolytes, potassium and magnesium, plus antioxidants that prevent inflammation and actinidin, an enzyme that helps with protein digestion.”

Peaches

Is there any fruit more quintessential in the summertime than a fresh peach? Plus, this is another superfood that will pack in tons of potassium. While peaches are great to eat after a workout, you may even want to eat one thirty minutes prior to get your body fueled up and ready for your best exercise ever.