10 Amazing Fruits to Add to Your Workout
Fruits are awesome. They taste great, you can do virtually anything with them, and—most importantly—they’re healthy. Fruits are an incredible way to receive a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients, and are essential to a healthy diet. But how can fruits enhance your physical fitness specifically? Here are 10 amazing fruits to add to your workout regimen—before or after you exercise—that can have enormous benefits.
Bananas are a delicious source of nutrients, and an easy, on-the-go snack that’s great for before or after your workout. They are full of vitamin B6, which is important to the process by which the body converts carbs into energy during exercise.
They are also an excellent of potassium, an electrolyte that promotes water balance and muscle function. Electrolytes are expelled from the body in sweat, so eating a banana after a workout can help replenish your body’s store of potassium.
Apples are heavy on (good) carbohydrates, which are essential to the body’s production of energy. They are also rich in a flavonoid (plant pigment) called quercetin, which may help improve your body’s metabolism and boost energy. This, in turn, keeps you energized and builds endurance.
3. Tomato (juice)
Tomatoes are high in antioxidants, which help cleanse your body of free radicals and promote the health of your cells.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that destabilize healthy molecules in your cells, and may be produced as a result of physical strain (like when you exercise). But who eats a raw tomato? Instead, try a glass of tomato juice after your workout.
Not in the mood for a virgin Bloody Mary? Try a handful of cherries—or an 8 oz. glass of cherry juice! Cherries are an excellent source of antioxidants in the form of flavonoids that have been shown to help decrease inflammation. Perfect after an intense, high impact workout.
If you’re looking for a natural anti-inflammatory for your post-workout snack, pineapples are rich in a unique blend of enzymes called bromelain.
Bromelain has anti-inflammatory capabilities that help promote tissue repair, healthy circulation, and a strong immune system—all of which may help with your body’s recovery time. It is most strongly concentrated in pineapple stems, but is also found in the fruit itself.
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries (which are technically not berries, but that’s an entirely different discussion), and others are rich in vitamins A, C, and E. They also have high content of flavonoids, the plant pigments that give berries such vibrant, deep colors. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants. Try an acai bowl, or make a smoothie before or after a workout for a rejuvenating snack.
Grapes are high glycemic fruits, meaning they have a higher impact on your blood sugar levels. However, after a workout, a handful of grapes is a great way to stimulate the production of glycogen—the carbohydrate that is stored in the body and used for energy production.
8. Citrus Fruits
In addition to being ample sources of vitamin C, different citrus fruits have some of their own interesting fitness benefits. Grapefruit, for instance, is an appetite suppressant, and can be eaten after a workout as a healthy snack that’s small, yet filling when you’re probably your hungriest. Lemons contain citric acid that stimulates digestion and helps break down fats.
Watermelons contain an amino acid called citrulline, which promotes healthy blood flow. Good circulation is crucial both before and after your workout to ensure that your muscles are functioning properly, and to ensure that all parts of your body receive adequate nutrients and oxygen.
While you might initially think of avocados as vegetables, they are actually fruits—and they’re so much more than just an Instagram trend. Avocados are very high in nutrients, including vitamins B6, C, E, and K.
They are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are excellent for heart health, as well as magnesium and potassium, which are necessary post-workout nutrients—especially potassium, which, as we’ve established, is an electrolyte that gets depleted from your body when you sweat. Try some avocado slices after your workout, if you don’t feel like eating an entire salad or meal—or even use avocado as a base for your post-workout smoothie!
Consuming healthy serving sizes of fruits is an essential part of a well-balanced diet. Incorporating them into your meals throughout the day, or eating them as snacks, is the best way to ensure you get the full amount of the nutrients you need.
However, certain fruits—like the ones listed above as well as others—are great when added to your workout regimen. Consuming them before or after a workout might be just what you need to give your routine an added boost.