Don’t forget to drink (but not too much)
This much is certain. A recovery drink should include some hydrating potential.
Hydration before, during and after exercise is critical, though often neglected.
Post exercise hydration supports muscle protein synthesis, that critical process where the body rebuilds muscle broken down during exercise.
It helps digest post-exercise snacks and meals.
It helps boost the metabolism, at least temporarily, This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature. (1, 2) Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 liters) of water increases resting metabolism by 10 to 30 percent for about an hour. (3,4)
Water makes you feel full.
One study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a liter of water before meals lost 44 percent more weight than those who didn't. (5)
Dehydration decreases blood volume which means the heart works harder to pump blood around the body. The resulting fatigue not only hinders recovery but reduces motivation for the next workout. (6)
Dehydration can cause headaches, irritability, and constipation. It increases the risk of other illnesses, including kidney stones, bad breath, constipation, dizziness, seizures and heat exhaustion.
People often die from dehydration.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration.
It is much more common to die from hyponatremia which is drinking too much water. (7)
Drink enough to stay hydrated, but don’t get carried away.
How to tell if you’re dehydrated
Urine color is one of the best indicators of a person's hydration level - clear means well hydrated. Dark indicates dehydration.
If you're unsure about your hydration needs, weigh yourself immediately before and immediately after exercise. The difference between your weight before and after your workout is the amount of fluids you lost during your workout. This represents the amount of fluid you must replenish to remain fully hydrated. For every pound of fluid lost, drink between 20 and 24 ounces (600 to 700 ml) of fluid to replenish it. (8)
When is water not enough?
Somebody who has spent a leisurely half-hour on the elliptical trainer perusing a magazine article about how Meghan’s baby was fathered by an alien, probably doesn’t need a recovery drink.
“When your sweat losses have been fairly low (as is the case after many ‘standard’ training sessions) and when you don’t need to perform again for a while, simply drinking and eating normally is usually enough to replace all of the fluids and electrolytes you lost. Homeostasis stimulates you to drink to satisfy your thirst, you get a bit of sodium from your food, and your body does its rebalancing act with what you consume and pee out. Before you know it, everything is back to normal,” says Barry Popkin, the W.R. Kenan, Jr. distinguished professor at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina. (9)
A study published in the journal Nutrition, surveyed more than 1,000 adults at 50 commercial gyms and found that nearly half the men were taking dietary supplements, largely protein powders, with no supervision. None needed protein, the researchers concluded. (10)
A smaller study looked at the diets of elite athletes. More than 90 percent of them were taking dietary supplements, on recommendation of trainers or friends. Only 25 percent could explain why they were taking it; and of those using protein supplements, more than 80 percent already had sufficient dietary protein intake. (11)
But I’ve really worked hard. Water isn't enough!
If you’ve spent two exhausting hours pursuing personal bests using a variety of weights totalling more than a semi and you still have a full day of work ahead of you, and another workout session in the morning, something more replenishing than water might be required.
A recovery drink can provide an immediate, easily-digested dose of protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes that help build muscle, improve bone mass, immune system function, and ease muscle soreness.
Where it gets tricky, is picking a healthy product (and there are some) that benefits you and your particular training regime.
The convenience of a recovery drink can tempt athletes to use them in place of a meal. In fact, many of them are marketed as meal replacement powders. Most health experts stress the best way to get nutrients is through plain water and whole foods. (12)
This is what Harvard Health has to say on the subject: “. . . the most benign thing about protein supplements is that you're only wasting money. You reap little benefit and instead put yourself at risk for kidney, bone and heart disease.” (13)
All recovery drinks are not equal
Sugar, and lots of it, is a common feature of many recovery drinks.
It’s easy to end a 250-calorie workout with a 500-calorie shake, leading to health problems like obesity and bad teeth and causing blood glucose levels to soar and plummet. (14)
But, it’s not just sugar that causes concern.
Recovery drinks are ultra-processed products in an industry with little regulatory oversight. Many are safe and healthy. Others, not so much. There are many questions you should ask before putting these products into your body.
Things to consider before purchasing
- These powders have to undergo an intense process to isolate and concentrate their nutrients. For example, some manufacturers use the neurotoxin hexane, a petroleum by-product, to isolate protein. This information does not have to be included on the label.
- Recovery powders require ingredients, that may or may not be healthy, just to make them shelf-stable, taste good and dissolve easily.
- Does your powder have ingredients with long unpronounceable names? What do they actually do? Are they healthy?
- Do the ingredients actually do what the manufacturer says? (Health claims are often based on exaggerated research findings.)
- Is there enough of that ‘miracle’ ingredient in the container to actually provide a clinically effective dose?
- Where are the ingredients sourced? How reputable is the company?
- Do you know if any of the ingredients in the powder will negatively interact with any prescribed drugs you might be taking?
“Sometimes walking into a vitamin store can be so overwhelming, with its perfectly aligned walls of vitamins, workout powders and protein mixes, all beckoning you to make an uneducated guess on which will be the right one for you.” laments Alvin Kim in a blog. (15)
“Here’s the deal: many of us depend on these drinks to replenish us after a hard workout and most of the time, the way we decide which will be the best one is by word of mouth.
“One of the biggest red flags I’ve seen coming from iron-pumpers and extensive exercisers is their lack of education and knowledge about properly working out and of nurturing their bodies afterwards. Education is the key to having a life that thrives. Whatever you decide to put in your body, and the energy you decide to exert should be carefully monitored to produce the healthiest growth.”
What to look for in a recovery drink
Okay, your workouts are intense and frequent. You’re a busy person who doesn’t have time to prepare regular nutritious meals. You need some sort of recovery drink. What ingredients should you be looking for?
Carbs and protein are on the shopping list. And definitely electrolytes, essential for proper functioning of the nervous, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular systems.
If your electrolytes are imbalanced, you could put yourself at risk for muscle fatigue, cramping, or worse.
Major electrolytes include sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphate, bicarbonate and magnesium. (16)
Electrolytes commonly depleted in sweat are sodium and potassium.
Although many athletes fret about getting enough protein, magnesium deficiency is actually a much more common problem. (17) Magnesium plays a key role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. A diet rich in dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts and whole grains is the ideal way to get magnesium in your diet.
Manufacturers often fortify their products with vitamins, minerals, greens (dehydrated vegetable or other plant products), additional fats, grains, fibre, and/or thickeners. They’re often considered meal replacement powders (MRPs). Cheaper powders usually contain higher amounts of lactose, fat and other fillers.
Other important ingredients to look for:
- Glutamine—the most abundant amino acid in the plasma and muscle of humans. Glutamine protects muscle tissue and supports immune function during periods of immune and muscular stress and supports protein synthesis and the integrity of intestinal mucosal cell.
- Taurine—an amino acid that helps regulate the level of water and mineral salts in the blood. Taurine also helps keep potassium and magnesium inside the cell while keeping excessive sodium out.
- L-carnitine—drives fatty acids to the inner layer of the mitochondria where they are oxidized for cell energy. It also up-regulates the androgen receptor content, supporting recovery from workouts. This enables athletes to optimize their use of fat during exercise.
- L-carnosine—an amino acid that can help fight exercise-related fatigue, has antioxidant properties, and helps support the integrity of tissue found in fast-twitch muscle fibers.
- B-complex vitamins for cellular energy production support.
- Citric acid to increase sodium and water absorption.
Pretty sure I need more protein
For the average person, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Many nutritionists consider this inadequate. If you are an athlete, especially if you are doing resistance training, this is definitely not enough. (18)
A 2018 analysis of 49 studies supports the use of protein supplementation for resistance training. (19) The research suggests protein supplements significantly improve muscle size and strength in healthy adults who lift weights.
Protein supplementation was equally effective in men and women. However, the effectiveness may decrease with age, as older adults have higher protein requirements than younger people.
The researchers also noted that once protein exceeded 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight (0.73 g per pound), there was no additional benefit.
While athletes' protein needs are greater than that of non-athletes, they're not as high as commonly perceived, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine. They recommend 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for athletes, depending on type and intensity of training.
When is the best time to have a protein shake?
Some believe it’s best to drink a protein shake before a workout. Others argue after is better. It probably doesn’t matter. In fact, most research shows that for gaining muscle size and strength how much protein you consume per day is more important than when you consume it. (20, 21, 22, 23)
Experts also agree it is preferable to get protein from whole foods: nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese), legumes (beans, lentils), fish, poultry, eggs, and lean meat rather than from supplements.
Natural protein sources pack in lots of other nutrients, and since your body has to break down the food first, you get the dosage of protein over a longer period of time instead of one big dump. That helps your system push the protein to where its needed, instead of filtering it in urine. (24)
Not only does insufficient protein consumption prevent muscles from repairing properly, it may also enhance soreness for longer periods, known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). (25)
Exercise does not increase protein requirements significantly enough to warrant drinking litres of protein shakes, even with intense exercise. Overloading on protein supplements provides no extra benefits, nor does it speed up the bulking up process. Muscles can only utilise a certain amount. Excess protein intake puts pressure on the kidneys and liver, which can have health implications. (26)
Excess protein is usually stored as fat. A 2016 study found that weight gain was significantly associated with diets where protein replaced carbohydrates, but not when it replaced fat. (27)
Over consumption of protein has also been linked to other minor and serious health concerns such as bad breath, constipation, diarrhea, dehydration, kidney damage, cancer, calcium loss and heart disease
Protein powders for everyone
There are several different types of protein powders. (28)
- Whey: This water-soluble milk protein is popular among athletes. It is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the amino acids that the human body requires from food. The body absorbs whey protein quickly and easily.
- Casein: This type of protein is rich in glutamine, an amino acid that may speed up muscle recovery after exercise. Casein comes from dairy, making it unsuitable for vegans and people with milk allergies. The body digests this protein more slowly, so it may be best to take it at night.
- Soy: Soy protein is an excellent alternative to whey or casein for people who do not consume dairy. It also contains all the essential amino acids.
- Pea: Many plant-based protein powders contain pea protein, which is a high-quality alternative to soy- and dairy-based proteins. Pea protein is a good source of the amino acid arginine.
- Hemp: Hemp seeds are complete proteins that also contain essential fatty acids. This makes hemp an excellent choice for vegans or those with dairy or soy allergies.
Concerns about contamination
Protein powders were catapulted into the headlines recently when a controversial study by the Clean Label Project showed most protein powders were dangerously contaminated with heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and BPA. (29)
The study was criticized for being unfair and misleading.
“California’s Proposition 65, governing consumer exposure to certain chemicals, expressly allows for certain safe amounts of chemicals – including heavy metals — to be present in a product. These amounts are called “safe harbor” levels, and are calculated based on a consumer’s daily exposure level. The daily exposure calculation is highly complex, requiring expert analysis and reliance on variables that likely were not factored into by the Clean Label Project.” says Vega, a manufacturer of organic, plant-based protein-powders which were singled out as being some of the most contaminated. (30)
“Plants absorb naturally occurring minerals, including heavy metals, from the soil. When plants become foods, these minerals can be incorporated into the final product. This is why you may have heard that certain foods, especially plant-based foods, may contain trace amounts of heavy metals,” says the company on it web site.
In fact, you will find heavy metals in the produce you buy at the supermarket, the company says.
“That’s not to scare you, it’s to say that simply because there may be detectable amounts of heavy metals in these foods, that doesn’t mean they aren’t safe to consume. It also doesn’t take away from beneficial nutrients they can provide, like the fiber and antioxidants you get from eating spinach and berries, or vitamins and minerals, like potassium, you get from eating cucumbers.”
Timing is crucial, (or maybe not so much)
The nutrient timing theory argues the post-exercise period (or the “anabolic window of opportunity”) is where the body is able to replenish glycogen stores most rapidly. Consuming the proper ratio of nutrients (carbs, electrolytes protein) quickly initiates muscle damage repair and restores glycogen levels.
Many health experts say this recovery window has been overhyped by the recovery drink industry and that it only becomes critical when the workout has been long and strenuous and the athlete has only a short time to rest before performing again. (31,32)
A good diet is probably enough
Healthful eating within 24 hours of exercise will restore muscle glycogen and maximize protein synthesis, say critics of nutrition timing. Only well-trained athletes experience rapid muscle glycogen resynthesis and may benefit from an immediate post-workout feeding. (33)
“Research has shown that glycogen is replenished faster within 30–60 minutes after working out, which supports the anabolic window theory. (34,35) However, timing may only be relevant if you are training several times a day, or have multiple athletic events within a day. For the average person who works out once a day, there is plenty of time to replenish glycogen at each meal. (36)
“Replenishment of fluid, electrolytes, carbohydrate, and protein doesn’t cease after the first 60-90 minutes post-exercise. It just gradually slows down. If you only trained for 60-90 minutes, glycogen replenishment shouldn’t be a big challenge because most likely you didn’t empty the tank in the first place. And even if you did, your glycogen stores will be completely replenished in 24 hours just from your normal food intake,” says Chris Carmichael CEO/Head Coach of CTS. (37)
According to Brad Schoenfeld, director of the Human Performance Lab at CUNY Lehman College, the so-called “anabolic window” is open for at least several hours. That wider window means that the overpriced supplements meant to be ingested immediately after a workout may be no more effective than eating a proper meal hours later. (38)
“Additionally, some research actually shows training with lower muscle glycogen to be beneficial, especially if your goal is fitness and fat loss. (39) New research has even shown immediate replenishment may reduce the fitness benefits you receive from that session." (40)
Pros and cons of commercial sports drinks
All popular sports drinks contain electrolytes. That’s the good thing.
They also contain excess amounts of sugar and other questionable ingredients and may be contributing to our obesity epidemic. That’s the bad thing. (41) A typical sports drink could easily contain 36 grams of sugar, just a little less than the average soda.
The argument for these drinks is they help prevent a dangerous imbalance when key electrolytes are lost through sweat during exercise. (42)
But many sports nutritionists and pro athletes don't agree. David Katz, physician and nutrition expert at the Yale University School of Medicine, says sports drinks generally aren't much better than sodas. "[Sports drink companies'] marketing is based on the gimmick that somehow this extra load of sugar and calories will turn you into an athlete." (43)
Manufacturers sometimes substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar. Research on the long-term safety of these artificial sweeteners is inconclusive. (44)
Some sports drinks contain food dyes derived from petroleum which have been linked to hyperactivity and cancer. (45)
The extra sodium in many sports drinks could increase the risk of high blood pressure over time. And these drinks may contain other suspect ingredients such as; dextrose, natural flavors and phosphate .
Chocolate milk, really?
Don't believe the hype.
Chocolate milk is probably not the best thing to drink after exercise, or at any time, for that matter. It has too much sugar, too many calories, has been credibly linked to inflammation, and many people are lactose intolerant.
Many still tout it as the perfect recovery drink, however.
“Chocolate milk contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, flavonoids, electrolytes, and some vitamins which make this drink a good choice for recovery in athletes,” says Amin Salehi-Abargouei, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition at Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences and Health Services in Yazd, Iran. (46)
Not backed by science
“The idea that adults should drink chocolate milk after a strenuous workout appears to stem from a single, small study published in the February 2006 issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism,” cautions Dr. Andrew Weill. (47)
Chocolate milk simply has too many calories and too much sugar, Barry Popkin, the W.R. Kenan, Jr. distinguished professor at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina. There are more than six teaspoons of sugar in a cup of one-per-cent chocolate milk. Plus, most of the research studied the effect of milk on elite athletes – a small fraction of the population that works out intensely and could benefit from sports drinks. (48)
“It’s not entirely untrue — chocolate milk does have some things you need to recover,” says Ryan Greene, an osteopathic physician and co-founder of Monarch Athletic Club, a holistic diet and fitness facility in L.A. “But the reality is drinking it is detrimental in the long run.” (49)
“For one, dairy is known to cause inflammation, which is the opposite of what you need when trying to repair torn muscle fibers,” he says.
Inflammation is another concern
Most chocolate milk is made with milk chocolate, which is “devoid of any nutritional benefit and is supplemented with an unnecessary amount of simple sugars.” In its optimal form, chocolate milk achieves the ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of 4:1 for a workout recovery drink. But the kind of chocolate milk you find at grocery stores is usually closer to 6:1, he says.
“The truth is that the product doesn’t match the claims in the marketing, even if milk does have the elements one needs for recovery,” says L.A.-based nutritionist David Wiss. (50) Wiss adds that the dairy industry has a long history of deceptive marketing practices. “Their greatest con is convincing generations of Americans that milk is a vital component of a well-rounded, nutritious diet.”
What about coconut water?
It has fewer calories, less sodium, and more potassium than a sports drink. Ounce per ounce, most unflavored coconut water contains 5.45 calories, 1.3 grams of sugar, 61 milligrams of potassium, and 5.45 milligrams of sodium. In comparison, Gatorade has 6.25 calories, 1.75 grams of sugar, 3.75 milligrams of potassium, and 13.75 milligrams of sodium. (51)
Some studies have shown coconut water enhanced with sodium was as good as drinking a commercial sports drink for post-exercise rehydration. Coconut water caused less nausea, fullness, and stomach upset and was easier to consume in large amounts during rehydration.
Coconut water is said to offer an assortment of health benefits including antioxidants, phytonutrients, natural enzymes, naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. (52,53)
Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur and manganese are all available in coconut water.
Not all coconut water beverages are created equally. Some may have been pasteurized and heated, some contain mystery ingredients, some contain added juices and flavors. (54)
Cherry juice eases sore muscles
There is some evidence that cherry juice can help in the recovery process. It does this by increasing antioxidants and decreasing inflammation and lipid peroxidation. (55)
“Both elite athletes and everyday exercisers are consuming tart cherry juice in lieu of a sports drink before and after exercise, specifically high-intensity strength exercise, endurance running, and intensive cycling. There's growing research that supports its benefit for helping athletes recover, says nutritionist Toby Amidor (56)
“However, it shouldn't be consumed as a replacement for a proper post-workout meal or snack. If a client would like to consume tart cherry juice to help with exercise recovery, based on the amount given during studies, health practitioners can recommend the following ten fluid ounces of tart cherry juice preworkout; and an additional 10 fluid ounces or consumption of dried tart cherries within 30 minutes postworkout.”
Watermelon water boasts six times the amount of electrolytes of a standard sports drink and it includes benefits such as L-Citrulline, vitamin C, lycopene and antioxidants, boasts WTRMLN WTR on its web site. (57) The electrolyte minerals in watermelons include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, lycopene and betaine.
You can buy watermelon water or you can also make your own. Try blending watermelon flesh with some lime or lemon juice, and a touch of mint. For added sweetness, you can also add natural, organic sugar.
The beet juice boost
Beet juice has become one of the most popular ergogenic supplements for athletes choosing nutrient-dense foods to improve athletic performance. (58)
Studies have shown beet juice taken before a workout or competition can improve cardiorespiratory endurance and performance. It can also help after the work is done by rehydrating, quickening muscle recovery and fighting inflammation. (59)
Drinking beet juice raises nitric oxide levels which can increase blood flow, improve lung function, and strengthen muscle contraction.
A cup of tea with that deadlift?
Your relaxing cup of tea has more benefits than you think. Research shows that tea, both green and black, can be effective in fat oxidation (the process of where fat are broken into smaller molecules that get stored and used for energy) during aerobic exercise and post-workout recovery. (60) Much like cherry juice, tea’s high levels of antioxidants have also been shown to help reduce muscle soreness and recover muscle strength quicker.
In a 2010 study, the blood work of trained male athletes showed they had higher antioxidant levels and lower cortisol levels after consuming tea rich in the antioxidant theaflavin. (61) The tea also provided less DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
Some studies have shown that large amounts of caffeine after a workout significantly boosted glycogen levels. However the study was small and researchers warn that caffeine can also have significant negative side such as jitters, palpitations and trouble sleeping. (62)
What about a cold beer?
Beer contains carbs and electrolytes, right?
Studies have concluded that a beer after exercise doesn’t have negative effects on hydration and may even reduce post-workout inflammation. (63)
The social aspect of meeting friends for a celebratory beer after a grueling run or workout may be a great way to encourage regular exercise. (64)
“Great, let’s quaff a few cold ones!”
Not so fast.
"Having a beer after a workout is not hugely detrimental as long as it's with water and food, but it is absolutely not positive or beneficial," says Hana Abdulaziz Feeney, R.D., founder of Nourishing Results, a functional nutrition private practice in Tucson, Arizona. (65)
The carbs in beer come at a steep price, Abdulaziz Feeney says. The body has to use a lot of nutrients — B vitamins in particular — to metabolize the alcohol, which puts extra strain on the liver and diverts resources from the rest of your body.
"All those nutrients would be so much better to use in repairing your muscles and supporting glycogen production."
One small study raised the blood alcohol levels of eight healthy men following several workouts. The end result was that muscle protein synthesis suffered from the blood alcohol levels, thus preventing proper repair and growth. (66)
Other studies have found that post-workout beers damage testosterone production, which leads to a dramatic drop in muscle growth. (67)
There's nothing wrong with a beer with pals after a workout, but you should consider waiting until three or four hours. Instead, consume a protein and carb-rich meal after your workout, and then allow that to digest first. (68)
What about non-alcoholic beer?
“When alcohol is not present, it allows the beneficial ingredients to be effectively utilized,” says Greene.
“Hops has been noted to help treat anxiety, insomnia, indigestion and muscle tension — all things that plague athletes,” he continues. “Barley is commonly used for diarrhea, gastritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and has also been known to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and promote weight loss. It’s an excellent source of vitamins, carbohydrates, protein and fatty oils. Another principle component, brewer’s yeast, is well-known an excellent source of chromium, B complex vitamins, protein and selenium, which helps with the function of your liver and thyroid. So all those things together, you can certainly consider non-alcoholic beer a post-workout beverage.” (69)
Say hello to Aloe Water
Aloe water is a drink created from the aloe vera plant, which is well-known for its healing properties. Aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. In an effort to offer the beneficial properties of aloe vera, the plant has been broken down into a beverage to create an easy to drink method of consumption.
The same way that aloe vera heals the exterior layer of the skin after a sunburn, the plant is supposed to heal the interior layers of the body.
Aloe vera water contains vitamin B12, folate, choline, copper and potassium, 20 amino acids and seven of the eight essential amino acids. In addition, aloe vera water boasts anti-inflammatory properties that aid in constipation and heartburn.
Water derived from the cactus plant is well-known as a naturally hydrating, plant-based drink. Cactus water contains hydrating antioxidants, naturally occurring electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, it is low in sugar and does not contain food dyes.
Cactus water is known for its hydrating effect and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric offers many benefits
Tumeric steeped drinks often called ‘Golden Milk’ are getting a lot of attention for their post-workout benefits.
“This Ayurvedic spice is anti-inflammatory, debloating, gut healing, weight-loss aiding, and mood boosting, and might even help with depression recovery. It's truly a miracle spice.” writes one enthusiastic supporter. (70)
Although the bioavailability of the curcumin in turmeric is still being studied, clinical trials have found it has potential to be a powerful antioxidant. (71) It also has been found to help combat DOMS. (72)
Adaptogens: New (old) kids on the block
Adaptogenic herbs are an ancient remedy that are getting a lot of attention in the sports community for their ability to moderate physical and mental stress.
“They have huge potential when it comes to dealing with the considerable physical and mental issues that athletes face on top of day-to-day stressors likes jobs and relationships,” writes Dr. Drew Jamieson. “The remarkable resilience of these ancient herbs which grow in the some of the harshest climates in the world is passed on to those who incorporate them into their dietary regime. Strength, endurance, oxygen utilization, mood elevation - these are some of the key benefits that adaptogens offer to athletes. (73)
What makes adaptogenic herbs so appealing and effective is that, like a good night’s sleep, they elevate the body’s constitutional resistance to adrenal fatigue, he says.
Commonly researched adaptogenic herbs include Rhodiola rosea, Ashwaghanda, Astragalus, Schisandra, Cordyceps (technically a fungus), Eleutherococcus (Siberian ginseng) and Panax ginseng.
In studies done on athletes, adaptogens allow more intense training, quicker recovery and even improved physiological parameters. (74)
Hemp creating a buzz (Not that kind of buzz)
Hemp extracts can be found in capsules, gummies, drinks, oils, balms, cocktails, cookies and coffee. Its market share in the health and wellness space is expected to soar, with some analysts estimating its value will hit $2 billion by 2022.
According to a 2018 review of 132 original studies published in Frontiers in Neurology, hemp extracts can reduces inflammation and helps improve pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis. “It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective,” the review study’s authors wrote. (76)
“Broadly speaking, it does decrease inflammation when it's rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally,” Dr. Perry Solomon, previous chief medical officer and founding member of HelloMD. (77)
Hemp oil has been called one of the best anti-inflammatory supplements on the market today since it allows muscles to heal and get much stronger than traditional products without the negative side-effects. (78)
Make your own sports drink
There is a wide selection of natural electrolyte-filled foods that can be combined to create healthy, homemade, beverages that rehydrate and refuel. Citrus foods such as lemon, lime, and orange provide electrolytes. Bananas are a great source of potassium, along with additional electrolytes and vitamins. Celery, kale and cucumber are also hydrating vegetables. There are lots of recipes on the Internet and it can be fun to create you own special concoction.
A non-exhaustive list of potential ingredients include:
- Sea salt
- Baking soda
- Maple syrup
- Almond milk
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- https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/ingredients-concern/food-dyes, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957945/