How to Soothe Sore Muscles with a Magnesium Smoothie
Magnesium is nature’s muscle relaxant, and it can help with everything from aching muscles to intestinal cramps. Most Americans are magnesium deficient, and while adding a good multi-vitamin and an additional magnesium supplement to your daily routine could be helpful, most athletes (even amateur ones) require more.
After a long run (anything over 10 miles), I like to ease soreness with a three-layered approach to increasing the magnesium levels in my system:
I take a long soak in a tub filled with very warm water and epsom salts. Epsom salts are made from magnesium, which is absorbed through your skin as you soak. Use two cups of salts for a large bath full of water. Epsom salts are widely available at drugstores, Costco, and retailers like Target. You can buy fancy scented versions in the cosmetic aisle, but I prefer to use unscented salts and add a few drops of whatever essential oils suit my mood. Lavender and camomile would be soothing in this instance.
I take magnesium supplements in powdered form. Powders are more quickly absorbed by your system because they are dissolved before they hit your stomach. I use a brand called Natural Calm, which comes in plastic containers as well as individual serving pouches. Now Foods sells magnesium citrate in powder form, as does Trace Minerals Research (I just use the Natural Calm brand because I know it tastes good). It is sold as an “anti-stress” drink, which is another benefit of magnesium. Dr. Mark Hyman, the medical expert for CBS This Morning, recommends 400 to 1,000 mg per day as a beneficial dose. He’s written an excellent article about the benefits of magnesium.
I increase my intake of naturally occurring magnesium. One of the best things about magnesium is that it comes in pretty tasty natural packaging. Raw cacao, the base ingredient for chocolate, is very high in naturally occurring magnesium. Nuts like almonds, brazil nuts, and pecans are also high in magnesium, as are grains like millet and rye.
I plan to eat a breakfast smoothie containing raw cacao and almonds for at least three days after a long run.
Black Forest Smoothie for Sore Muscles
- 1 banana, cut into pieces (can be frozen)
- 1 cup of ice
- 1 cup of almond milk (soy is fine, too)
- 1 cup frozen dark cherries (frozen mixed berries work, as well)
- 1 handful raw almonds, soaked overnight (or 2 tablespoons raw almond butter)
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao
- pinch of salt (salt makes everything better)
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- agave nectar or honey to taste (I don’t use any additional sweetener, but if you are accustomed to Jamba Juice smoothies, you might want to add some)
Blend. Sip (Preferably while sitting in a warm epsom salts bath).
One caveat about magnesium: It relaxes everything, including your mind. Be prepared to take a nap after your bath!
- Magnesium powders and raw cacao are available at co-ops, nutrition stores (like the Vitamin Shoppe), and Whole Foods.
- Of course you can add raw cacao to any number of smoothies. Get creative, and let me know your recipes!