Like a call from the IRS, proper hydration is not something a triathlete should take likely. After all, it’s vital for optimal performance and post-training recovery. And with the sweaty season now upon us, you’re likely looking for something to guzzle down more often. But drinking only water from the tap can be as exciting as a lawn bowling match and relying on heavily sweetened options like soda and bottled iced teas can have serious waistline repercussions. Thankfully, there are some alternative options on the market that can help you stay hydrated and even put a spark in your stride. So it’s time to think beyond coconut water and sports drinks and embrace these hip sips.
Time to pucker up. Tart cherries are jam-packed with antioxidants that are thought to help athletes more efficiently recover from exercise. Case in point: A 2015 study by British researchers found that cyclists who consumed a concentrated tart cherry drink for eight days experienced less muscle damage and inflammation in response to a 109 minute intense ride. Further, a Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition study discovered that drinking tart cherry juice daily can reduce reported muscle pain in runners. The powerful anthoycanin antioxidants in the sour fruit are thought to lessen the oxidative stress associated with exercise to bring about better recovery during training and after races. Beyond drinking straight from the bottle, you can try working tart cherry juice into your post-training smoothies.
Move over warm milk, there might be a new drink to help you doze off. A European Journal of Nutrition study showed that volunteers who consumed tart cherry juice for seven days experienced improved sleep quality and duration. Researchers credit the juice’s dose of melatonin, a hormone that helps your body maintain its circadian rhythm or otherwise internal clock, for helping to offer an express ticket to dreamland. Not just for insomniacs, a good nights rest is essential for proper exercise recovery and performance. Try drinking a cup of the sour power juice 1-hour before bed or mix 2 tablespoons of tart cherry juice concentrate with 8 ounces of water.
Drink this: Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice ($12, 4-8oz bottles