Recover the Natural Way

Shrink your recovery time and bounce back faster with these proven natural anti-inflammatories.


Rethink your medicine kit: natural remedies can help to heal aching muscles and speed recovery.


The payoff for all that work can be a fair amount of aches and pains. Known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, it’s likely the aftermath of microdamage to muscles and ligaments. While it’s a step toward building muscle fibers stronger than before, that’s not much solace when it hurts to sit (or stand back up). And doctors warn against reaching too often for pain relievers, which can lead to significant stomach problems. Luckily, a number of natural strategies can help you feel better faster with minimal side effects.


SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Guide to Clean Eating


“Proteins, made up of amino acids, are the building blocks of our muscles and are preferentially depleted during intense workouts,” explains Drew Jamieson, N.D., a naturopathic doctor at the Polo Health + Longevity Centre in New Westminster, Canada. The key is to get your fill through quality sources, such as grass-fed meats, free-range chicken, eggs, wild salmon, nuts, and seeds. Adding a scoop of powdered L-glutamine or branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to a post-workout protein shake can help ensure your body has the raw materials to quickly repair muscle damage, adds Jamieson.


How much: 15g of protein powder plus 5g of BCAAs and 5g of L-glutamine derived from whey protein powder.


A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found curcumin, an important compound in this deep yellow-orange spice, was as effective as ibuprofen at easing knee pain. And another study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found it reduced muscle damage following a soreness-inducing workout. You could pop it as a pill, but you’d be missing out on the warm, peppery flavor turmeric lends to many Indian and Chinese dishes. Toss it with roasted cauliflower, mix it into a smoothie, or grate it into a tea with some ginger and almond milk.


How much: Up to 3g of turmeric (root or powder; about 1 teaspoon), or up to 600mg of curcumin powder 3 times a day.

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