With summer in full swing, our bodies are often susceptible to heat-related illnesses like heat stress. Heat stress can result in heat stroke, exhaustion, or rashes – which trigger the body’s sympathetic nervous system in hopes of cooling the body down and putting it back in a state of relaxation.
Massage has been shown to stimulate the body’s nervous system which helps regulate your natural hormone levels. But what your body consumes during heatwaves and pre/post-massage is just as equally important. Registered dietitian and nutrition expert, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman shares her top five post-Zeel massage foods to eat and maintain your Zen for as long as possible.
1. Broccoli after a sports massage
According to studies, eating broccoli can help reduce the risk of sore muscles after working out. Broccoli is also a good source of calcium, folic acid and vitamin K, which can also strengthen our bones. Contrary to belief, broccoli is extremely high in immunity-boosting vitamin C.
When you’re stressed, our bodies need vitamin C and antioxidants to help repair and protect cells. So, saute some broccoli with brown rice and chicken breast for dinner and your muscles and mind will be restored and relaxed by the morning!
2. Dark chocolate goes well with any massage
Dark chocolate (with at least 70-85% cacao) is the perfect post-massage treat because dark chocolate is a mighty stress-busters. Plus, the flavanols and antioxidants in the dark chocolate can help reduce inflammation in your system. Tracy likes to nibble on dark chocolate covered almonds after her massage for a good balance of omega 3 fatty acids and protein.
3. Bananas are best paired with a prenatal massage
You can’t go wrong with a banana or dried banana chips after your pregnancy massage. This fruit also contains a healthy dose of potassium which keeps your stress levels at bay and keeps your blood pressure low. Plus, bananas are rich in folic acid and if you’re in your first trimester they can help alleviate nausea.
4. Salmon before a Swedish massage
Consuming for magnesium-rich foods, such as salmon, can help keep your nervous system calm and may even help elongate your Zen. Plus, salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which may help lower blood pressure, another added bonus pre-massage!
5. Blueberries after deep tissue massage
Although tiny, blueberries are mighty! Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which can help reduce stress. For a perfect post-massage treat, throw some blueberries into a plain greek yogurt for added nutrients. Or opt for a handful in your morning smoothie to help keep your worries at bay.
Tracy is a registered dietitian-nutritionist with her own private practice in New York City and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Her food philosophy is moderation, not deprivation! Visit Tracy’s website for more information on nutrition and healthy recipes.