ATHLETES: START JUICIN’!
Juicin’ can take professional and amateur athletes’ performance on the playing field to another level. Olympic athletes do it in an effort to recover quicker, increase endurance, and gain an edge on the competition. No, I’m not talking about the type of “juice” that can get them fined or banned from sports. I’m referring to fresh pressed juices comprised of beets, ginger, pineapple and other foods that enhance physical performance. These natural ingredients can all have a positive effect on athletic endurance and stamina. Let’s take a closer look at what each can do for your body, whether you’re a weekend warrior or a serious competitor.
If you want to improve your time on bike or foot, start guzzling some beetroot! One study showed cyclists shaved off 11 seconds over a 2.5 mile course and 45 seconds over a 10 mile course. It works so well that almost all of Team Canada’s marathoners use beet juice as a training aid due to the high level of nitrates. It’s these nitrates that help muscles use oxygen more efficiently. Don’t like to run or bike? Well, Florida divers, you’re in luck as well….beet juice has been shown to help the body hold breath longer!
Almost everyone knows that carrots improve night vision but what if you’re like most people and don’t work out in the dark? Thanks to its high levels of vitamin A and potassium, carrots can still help you increase your athletic performance. Vitamin A is needed for tissue growth, specifically in bones, and potassium is needed for muscle movement and neurotransmission (muscle messages). The sweetness of carrot juice doesn’t hurt either!
Pineapple packs a powerful punch! It’s anti-inflammatory thanks to its bromelain, it can help maintain proper electrolyte balance due to its potassium and it contains manganese, a mineral necessary to build bones and connective tissue. Pineapple has even been proven to help arthritis symptoms. This is an ingredient in juice that athletes don’t want to miss.
Electrolytes! Put away the Gatorade that is full of artificial flavors and guzzle some cool cucumber juice. Being in Florida, we obviously perspire quite a bit while working out or playing sports. Through the sweat we lose electrolytes which are important because they help to regulate the amount of fluids in the body and the fluids’ movement in and out of the body. However, we can all stay healthy and hydrated in the heat with the help of some cucumber juice.
It’s no surprise that exercising can often result in sore and/or tight muscles. But it may come as a shock to hear that ginger can help soothe those muscles. How? The antioxidants in the herb suppress cellular production of nitric oxide, a compound that produces toxic free radicals that promote tissue damage and inflammation. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties it can be a great substitute for aspirin and ibuprofen.
Next time you want a natural, refreshing, and effective way to nourish your muscles and enhance athletic performance you may just want to do what the pros are doing…JUICE UP!