4 Spices Excellent for Muscle Recovery... You'll be Amazed!

You may be thinking at this point after reading the title of this blog, "how can spices help improve recovery after the gym"... you'd be surprised. The following spices have not only been shown to have an affect on body composition, but also on performance. 

1. Cayenne Pepper

Not only does this naturally bright red pepper ad delicious flavour to your food but it can also dramatically improve your fat loos efforts. 

This is due to the main active ingredient in cayenne pepper. This ingredient is called capsaicin. It has been shown to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidisation via sympathetic (nervous system) energy. [1] So it's of no surprise thats it's a stable in many fat loos supplements. 

Additionally to this, a study found that capsaicin has been shown to maintain a higher reliance on fat as fuel coming out of our diets. [2]

So... why not add some of this delicious spice to your food, but be careful, its very strong, so take it steady and a little bit more each time as your tolerance grows. 

 

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is best known for its incredibly versatile flavour, it can give a burst of flavour to both sweet and savoury dishes. But it may also hold the key to that amain physique hiding under that stubborn layer of fat.

The first of many reasons it may hold this key is that cinnamon has a huge effect on glucose control. This is related to high levels of the bioactive compound methylhydroxychalcone polymer (MHCP), which provides an insulin-mimicking effect. When you eat cinnamon, several enzymatic reactions are triggered that ultimately lead to prolonged digestion and slower entry of glucose into the blood.[3] 

Ingesting 3-6 grams of cinnamon has been shown to have a positive impact on blood glucose levels following a meal, as well as significantly delaying gastric emptying rates.[4,5]

 

3. Turmeric

Native to southeast Asia, Turmeric is a staple in many Indian dishes. Beyond its wonderful colour and flavour, it has been used in medicine for centuries. [6]

A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition provided turmeric to cyclists undergoing exhaustive exercise and found that those taking the turmeric had significantly lower levels of stress and inflammatory markers upon completion of the exhaustive bouts.[7]

In short, it has anti inflammatory properties and can help to alleviate muscle soreness. 

 

4. Ginger

Shaped like a tree trunk in its rot form, ginger has a very distinctive and unmistakable flavour. Native to many asian countries, and used across multiple cuisines across the amazing continent of Asia , its not only useful for its amazing flavour but its been used in folk medicine for decades. Primarily due to its anti-inflammatory effects. 

In a study published in The Journal of Pain, researchers looked at the impact of consuming 2 grams of ginger daily on reducing muscle soreness following a bout of 18 eccentric-focused exercises.[8] The supplementation group reported less muscle soreness compared to the placebo group throughout the next 24 hours.

If your new to the gym, or have recently increased your intensity, then adding some ginger to your diet will be sure to help your muscles recover so as you don't experience to muscle delayed onset muscle soreness. 

References:

1.Matsumoto, T., Miyawaki, C., Ue, H., YUASA, T., MIYATSUJI, A., & MORITANI, T. (2000). Effects of capsaicin-containing yellow curry sauce on sympathetic nervous system activity and diet-induced thermogenesis in lean and obese young  

2. Lejeune, M. P., Kovacs, E. M., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. (2003). Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjectsBritish Journal of Nutrition90(03), 651-659.

3. Jarvill-Taylor, K.J., Anderson, R.A. & Graves, D.J. (2001). A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 20(4), 327-336.

4. Hlebowicz, J., Darwiche, G., Bjorgell, O. & Almer, L.O. (2007). Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85(6), 1552-1556

5. Hlebowicz, J., Hlebowics, A., Lindstedt, S., Bjorgell, O., Hoglund, P. Holst, J.J., Darwiche, G. & Almer, L.O. (2009). Effects of 1 and 3 g cinnamon on gastric emptying, satiety, and postprandial blood glucose, insulin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, glucagon-like-peptide 1, and ghrelin concentrations in healthy subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(3), 815-821.

6. Benzie, I. F., & Wachtel-Galor, S. (Eds.). (2011). Herbal medicine: biomolecular and clinical aspects. CRC Press.

7. Matsumoto, T., Miyawaki, C., Ue, H., YUASA, T., MIYATSUJI, A., & MORITANI, T. (2000). Effects of capsaicin-containing yellow curry sauce on sympathetic nervous system activity and diet-induced thermogenesis in lean and obese young womenJournal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology,46(6), 309-315.

8. Black, C. D., Herring, M. P., Hurley, D. J., & O'Connor, P. J. (2010). Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exerciseThe Journal of Pain11(9), 894-903.

 

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