Thursday, October 1, 2009

Watch Out Gatorade, Powerade, Accelerade! Mother Nature's Entered the Game!

I'm convinced more than ever that Mother Nature is a runner. I've recently hailed Mother Nature's "natural sports drink"—coconut water—and its health benefits, especially how its naturally high level of potassium helps keep my calf cramps at bay on long runs. Well, it appears that Mother Nature has expanded her line of sports drinks.

Coconut water handles the hydration and electrolyte replacement end of Mother Nature's line of sports drinks and it appears that tart cherry juice handles the post-run anti-inflammatory department. This isn't brand-new news. Tart cherry juice has been lauded for many years as a natural remedy for pain-relief, but now there's some science to back up the claims.

Oregon Health and Science University gathered two comparable groups of runners both ranging in ages from 18-50. Members of one group drank 10.5oz of tart cherry juice each day for two weeks and the other group drank the same amount of an artificial fruit drink. Then each group participated in a long-distance relay.

The results? The tart cherry group had a 23% lower self-reported pain level after the race than the artificial fruit juice group. Dr. Kerry Kuehl, the sports-medicine specialist at Oregon Health & Science University says that this may suggest that the tart cherry juice works like a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) kind of like Ibuprofen. The upside to this is that using a natural anti-inflammatory like the tart cherry juice may help you avoid some of the bad side effects that result from some NSAIDs. Kuehl said that the anti-inflammatory benefits of tart cherry juice may also benefit non-runners too, such as women with fibromyalgia and he's hopeful that it may benefit people with arthritis as well.

This doesn't mean you have to chunk your sports drinks, as more research is needed, but if you're looking for a more natural way to support your training needs, you may want to check into 100% coconut water for your hydration needs and tart cherry juice for your post-workout anti-inflammatory needs. Thanks Mother Nature!

11 comments:

Carlee said...

I have coconut water in my fridge waiting for me to try...I need to be brave. This tart cherry juice sounds very intriguing, thanks for the info!

nuthinelse said...

I love coconut water!!! Tart Cherry juice is also recommended for people with gout, it makes sense that it would help with all sorts of inflammation issues.

Regina said...

Mmmmmmm, I love cherries. Can't say I've seen cherry juice, that I can recall, in the health food store. Will look for it. I'd rather that than ibuprofen.

I have also been meaning to try the coconut water, another thing to add to my list.

Kristin said...

Where can you get coconut water?
Thanks for the info I would love to try it!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Carlee! You're most welcome! Let me know how the Cherry juice goes if you try it out.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Nuthinelse! That's awesome about gout. Cool how Mother Nature can help with a lot of ailments.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Regina! Yep, I looking forward to changing over to Cherry juice to cut down on the Advil.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Kristin! I like Zico. There are other brands and as long as it's 100% coconut juice any brand will do. Here's a link for Zico where you can input your zipcode and it will tell you were in your area you can by Zico. http://www.zico.com/search/

Lorenda said...

Runner Dude, what does coconut water taste like? I don't like coconut so I am hesitant to try something made from coconut.
Also, I FINALLY made the granola recipe from a few weeks back. It is yummy! (I used dried cherries instead of cranberries because I already had them.)

RunnerDude said...

Hey Lorenda! Glad you liked the granola! Good stuff! The dried cherries sounds good! The coconut water is very mild. It does have a coconut essence to it, but it's not as strong as conconut flavoring in a cake for example. The brand I use (Zico) comes in two other flavors. It's still 100% coconut water, but they use some other natural flavorings to create a flavor different from coconut. Might be worth buying one serving to see if you like it. Let me know what you think if you try it.

Mollie said...

Lorenda, I can't stand coconut, but I do like coconut water. Like RunnerDude said it's a very mild flavor, not really sweet. If you're not crazy about the taste, one of the women in my running group uses it in smoothies, or mixes it with fresh juice.