You just finished a hard workout and want to help your body recover. You stuck to your gym bag and stuck to…a piece of cheese? Actually, yes, he says new study In the Nutrition Journalwho found that young men who ate about 3 ounces of cheese after a strength workout were able to make more muscle protein cells in their bodies during the recovery process, helping them rebuild muscle faster.
“In order to adapt your muscles to exercise, you need a constant replenishment of your muscle proteins,” says study co-author Wesley Hermanns of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. “We found that 30 grams of cheese protein increases muscle protein synthesis.”
While eating cheese immediately after exercise had the greatest effect on muscle repair in the study, Hermanns says, the body can benefit up to a day afterward.
“Exercise sensitizes the muscles to the amino acids circulating in the blood so that your muscles can absorb more of them even after 24 to 48 hours,” he says. “So during this time, you can benefit from eating extra protein.”
While cheese has other health benefits (i.e., a hefty dose of bone-strengthening calcium), it also contains a decent amount of fat, Herrmann admits.
Consider less rich versions like Swiss, feta, and low-fat cheese after your strength session, then eat lean protein, such as fish, for dinner. Quality flavors fresh.
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