Surprising beverages for aiding post-workout recovery

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People tend to have their own personal secrets when it comes to assisting their athletic recovery, whether it’s a long-held family tradition or a tip they overheard from the brawny guy at the gym. While stacking up on protein supplements, snacking on some potassium-filled bananas or a bowl of whole-grain breakfast cereal in the morning are the usual suspects when it comes to nutritional ways to enhance your workout recovery, there are also plenty of more unusual nourishment options that have also been researched for their recuperation advantages. Here are some of the beverages for post-workout recovery that will probably surprise you:

Chocolate milk

Let’s just say that few athletes probably reach for a carton of chocolate milk in the fridge after they’ve returned from another intense go at the gym. But believe or not, research has been put forth that this classic children’s cocoa beverage may be an excellent source for helping your body recover after extensive exercise. Researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine have recently analyzed the ways chocolate milk may serve as a quality choice for providing replenishment after physical activity. They discovered that those who drank chocolate milk immediately after, as well as two hours after, exercise experienced a better workout the next day when compared to consuming traditional fluids.

Dr. Theodore Shybut, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine and lead contributor in the study, described how a combination of nutritional elements played a role in identifying chocolate milk as a great source for post-workout recovery.

“If you look at what goes into a good workout recovery drink, it’s a combination of protein and carbohydrates, ” Shybut said in a statement. “Protein for rebuilding and repairing damage that occurs to tissues and carbohydrates for replenishing the energy that has just been burned. The protein to carbohydrate ratio in chocolate milk actually is very close to what we know is ideal for recovery.”

Pickle juice

Pickles are that type of food that you either love or hate – there’s rarely a middle ground. But when it comes to savoring the excess liquid that remains in the pickle jar, this acquired taste may also come equipped with athletic recovery benefits. Over the past several years, there’s been a growing following of athletes who are drinking pickle juice as a means of reducing the experience of muscle cramps, as well as adequately replenishing fluids and salt lost through sweat. The New York Times reports that a survey that interviewed athletic trainers all over the country found that roughly one-quarter of the participants recommend pickle juice to athletes who are experiencing frequent cramps. In fact, one study discovered that drinking pickle juice was able to relieve cramping 37 percent faster than water, and 45 percent faster than consuming no fluids.

Beetroot juice

Let’s face it – the beetroot is a vegetable that’s often forgotten and unfairly left out of the healthy food conversation. In addition to being rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C, beetroots are also renowned for being an excellent source for fiber, potassium and magnesium. Knowing this information, it only makes sense that beetroot juice has long been a secret weapon for athletes for building up endurance and increasing their overall performance. Cyclists should especially take note of beetroot juice as a great addition to a workout recovery routine, as one study identified that racers who drank half a liter of beetroot juice before a 10 mile time trial not only pedaled with more power, but also finished an average of 3 percent faster than those who didn’t consume beetroot juice. The secret behind beetroot juice seems to be its ability to quickly improve blood and oxygen flow to muscles, therefore providing a fast boost to athletes for high performance.

Tart cherry juice

Cherry juice is another beverage that we seldom hear or talk about, but over the past few years it has certainly gained plenty of ground when it comes to being one of the better unknown drinks for workout recovery. Tart cherry juice, specifically, has been studied as a quality source for maintaining and enhancing muscle function, and its abundance of antioxidants is noted for helping reduce pain and inflammation within the body. One study featured 20 marathon runners who either drink cherry juice or a placebo five days before, the day of and for 48 hours following a marathon run. After analyzing the results, the researchers concluded that tart cherry juice can be an exceptional beverage to drink after strenuous exercise, particularly for furthering the recovery of muscle function. What is also convenient about tart cherry juice is that you’d have to chow down on various handfuls of cherries to even come close to the beneficial antioxidants gained through drinking one cup of cherry juice.

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