Is it worth eating ‘anti-inflammatory’ foods post training and racing?

Wondering if it's beneficial to eat anti-inflammatory foods after training and racing, and if so, what are the best foods? Lucy-Ann Prideaux has this advice for triathletes

Berries contain useful anti-inflammatory properties. Credit: Julia Khusainova/Getty

There’s an array of foods with anti-inflammatory properties. However, with regards to a ‘set protocol’, there isn’t enough information to give clear guidelines as to amounts of foods and the best times to consume them. Having said that, it makes good sense to include lots of anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. This will saturate the body and bloodstream with antioxidant chemicals to ‘mop up’ all the reactive molecules produced during exercise, which inflame the muscles, slow recovery and can depress the immune system.


A bowl of fresh berries, for example, or berry juices such as dark grape and pomegranate, have excellent anti-inflammatory properties, so are ideal for post-run/swim breakfasts, smoothies or rehydration drinks.

Three smoothie recipes from British Cycling’s Nigel Mitchell

Five foods perfect for making a post-training smoothie

Fish oil has been the most widely studied food in relation to its anti-inflammatory effects. The best advice currently is to eat oily fish two to three times a week. Red onions are rich in quercetin – a powerful antioxidant also found in tea and apples – so it’s a worthy addition to salads and stir-fries.


When looking to make dietary changes to reduce inflammation, it’s necessary also to consider foods that may contribute to inflammation. Arachidonic acid, for example, is an inflammatory fatty acid found in meat, dairy products and fried foods. Other foods/substances that may need to be reduced or avoided include highly refined foods, caffeine and the Solanaceae family of vegetables – tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines and peppers

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