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6 great post-exercise foods

1 Eggs A complete source of protein, eggs include all of the essential amino acids we need to get from our diet. This makes them a great post-exercise choice, as they provide a variety of amino acids to help our muscles recover. One particular amino acid is leucine, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. So whether you like them scrambled, poached, runny or hard-boiled – put eggs on your post-exercise menu.

2 Sweet potato This delicious orange root vegetable is a fantastic source of carbohydrates, just what your body needs. Sweet potatoes also have a low GI (glycaemic index) meaning their energy is released slowly, having less of an impact on blood sugar levels than a white potato might. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C, both of which are important for immunity and keeping cells healthy – definitely a bonus to include after a bout of exercise.

3 Dairy foods Dairy foods such as milk and yogurt are another fantastic source of protein, which is vital for adequate post-exercise recovery. Dairy-free alternatives can sometimes be a good source of protein, for example soya milk. But some, such as almond and oat milk, are not as high in protein as dairy versions, so check the label of your chosen milk/yogurt. Mixing yogurt with fresh fruit makes it a great protein and carb post-exercise recovery snack.

4 Oily fish Fish such as salmon is not only a great source of protein, but also healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids. These are beneficial to heart health, play a role in immunity and have anti-inflammatory properties too. This makes them a good choice to include when recovering from exercise to help support our immune response after tissue damage.

5 Quinoa If there was such a thing as a 'superfood' I'd say quinoa would be up there. This grain is a source of fibre, complete protein, zinc and B vitamins making it a fantastic post-exercise choice. You'll be replenishing carbs and protein in one hit, while also stocking up on some immune-boosting zinc. B vitamins play a role in releasing the energy in the foods we eat, so we definitely want to be in good supply of these if we are exercising regularly.

6 Fruit and veg A diet rich in various fruits and vegetables should always feature highly in everyone's meal planning, and especially so for people who exercise regularly. Fruits and vegetables are firstly a source of carbohydrates, meaning they're a good choice post exercise to help replenish our glycogen (stored carb) stores, but they're also full of important vitamins and minerals. From vitamin C for immunity and healthy cells, to magnesium for muscle and nerve function, fruits and vegetables pack a powerful nutritional punch. They're also rich in antioxidants which help to keep our cells healthy – definitely helpful post-exercise!

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