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Salad isn’t only good for your thighs: People who ate three ounces of delicate, spicy watercress for eight weeks daily before strenuous exercise had less post-workout muscle damage. The veggies pack a wallop of nutrients such as beta carotene and vitamin E to flush waste out of muscles and speed up repair, say researchers in the British Journal of Nutrition. You’ll probably get the best results after long-term use, Kimball says, although the study did show a similar effect when watercress was eaten just two hours pre-workout. Stock up on any green—kale, Swiss chard, arugula—and consider adding a splash of olive oil, as fat enhances the absorption of beta carotene and other nutrients.
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