What is Inflammation?
Whether you are an athlete or an avid exerciser, there is a really good chance you know what soreness is (unless you are some sort of freak-of-nature… if that is the case, I envy you!). A common misconception in the fitness field is the thought that lactic acid is the primary cause of muscle soreness. This is a myth! Your body clears lactic acid from your muscles within just a few hours post-exercise. That soreness you feel the morning after leg day? Yeah, that’s not lactic acid. That’s INFLAMMATION!
In a nutshell, every time you exercise, you are literally tearing your muscles. These microscopic tears are not a bad thing; in fact, they are great if you are trying to bulk up and/or train your muscles to adapt to whatever activity you perform (i.e. running, biking, soccer, etc.). How could tears in your muscles be good?! Well, your torn muscles release chemicals into your body that literally invite special cells and substances into the wounded area. These special cells and substances function to repair your muscle and build it up so that it is even stronger (and sometimes bigger) than before! Nice.
However, there is a catch. Much like when you scrape your skin and the area becomes inflamed and sore, the same is true for when you tear your muscles. Furthermore, for us athletes and other avid exercisers, we are CONSTANTLY putting stress on our bodies, therefore putting our muscles in a CONSTANT state of inflammation. When this happens, inflammation (and its subsequent soreness) will impede performance and can actually send us to the sidelines.
So what should we do?!
Don’t worry, my friends! You don’t need to stop exercising and playing your sports. Instead, just start incorporating some anti-inflammatory foods into your diet! These particular foods contain chemicals that prevent inflammation in the body, therefore reducing all the negative effects in your muscles. In addition to reducing inflammation and, thus, muscle soreness, there are several other reasons to eat anti-inflammatory foods, even if you aren’t an athlete.
More reasons to eat-up on those anti-inflammatory foods: