When you think of a pre- or post-workout drink, you usually think along the lines of protein powders, carbs and antioxidants. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But there is an extra something that can enhance and benefit your body when you make your protein shakes or even drink it straight up.
Were you aware of the phenomenal health benefits of cranberry juice? When I was first approached by Oasis to trial the Oasis Nutrisource line of juices, I immediately thought – “What the?”
For a number of years I’ve struggled to find a big-box juice that I’d be okay with my kids drinking. After some due diligence and personal trials, I’m happy to report back that I’m pleased with the Nutrisource line for 3 reasons:
- The 100% juice product is not an overproduced SSB (sugar-sweetened beverage)
- The low 40 cal alternative is sweetened with stevia and not sucralose or aspartame.
- My kids love it!
The following post includes some of my thoughts and findings relating to the health benefits of cranberries – and the simple fact that if you aren’t able to eat them, there’s a great juice alternative.
What exactly does cranberry juice do for your body?
Cranberries contain manganese, Vitamin C, Fiber, Vitamin E, copper, Vitamin K and pantothenic acid. They help reduce dental plaque, are a kidney stone deterrent (still under study) and fight cancer and candida yeasts. But what can it do for your body as it relates to your workout?
Cranberries have anti-inflammatory and bone strengthening (manganese) nutrients that help post- and pre-workout. For example, Vitamin C, which cranberries are rich in, is an antioxidant that promotes healing of bones, skin and connective tissue.
Enjoying Cranberry Juice as a Pre-Workout Drink
Cranberry juice (like Oasis Nutrisource 40 cal) mixed with about 5g of creatine and 10g of BCAAs, makes for an excellent pre-workout drink. I prefer this mix as a great-tasting cranberry juice cocktail alternative to sugar and sucrose with no compromise on fruit taste. After all, if it doesn’t taste good, you’ll eventually find an excuse to NOT use it.
The natural sugars found in the juice help with creatine absorption into the muscle tissues. Not to mention, the manganese also found in the cranberries, helps support the bones for a stronger skeletal system, which encourages better posture and stronger bones. Overall, this simple mix is an easy add-in to any fitness routine, which will in time provide some fantastic benefits.
What’s the deal with mixing creatine with sugar? A 1996 study showed that ingesting a carbohydrate solution with creatine promoted a 60 percent greater increase in total creatine concentrations in the muscle, compared with taking creatine alone.
The Ultimate Post-Workout Cranberry Juice Smoothie
When it comes to a post-workout beverage, cranberry juice makes for a solid smoothie/shake base. As an advocate for the importance of recovery nutrition – it’s been a big part of my routine for nearly 18 years now – I recommend implementing a post-workout shake, within two hours of training, for three reasons.
3 Reasons why you should implement a post-workout RECOVERY shake:
- Decrease protein breakdown (rebuild and repair muscle)
- Increase protein synthesis (build new muscle)
- Replenish Glycogen levels (re-fuel your muscles)
“Several studies have shown that proper post-workout nutrition (carbohydrates with protein), when available within the the two-hour window of “opportunity,” can stimulate muscle repair, muscle growth, and muscle strength.” ~ Precision Nutrition, About Post Workout Nutrition
Recipe: The “Cran-Power Up” Post-Workout Shake
In a blender, blend the following:
- 1 or 2 scoops (15 to 30g) of your favorite protein powder (this one is mine)
- 1 cup (250mL) Oasis Nutrisource 40cal Cranberry Juice
- 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
- 3 or 4 medium sized ice cubes
- 1/4 cup of frozen berries– note: refrain from adding to your shake if trying to keep carbohydrates to a minimum
- 5 to 10g of Glutamine
- And, 1 handful of awesomeness (okay, I made that one up)
This Cranberry Power-up shake is packed with antioxidants, protein and probiotics, as well, it will provide you with a nice pick-me-up of energy post-workout. The Vitamin-C promotes healing, while the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory aspects of cranberries help in the healing process, as well as aid in continued strengthening of the bones and connective tissues.
In conclusion, cranberries are an overlooked powerhouse that provide cleansing, healing and protection for your body. Whether you’re eating cranberries fresh off the bush or incorporating in your pre- and post-workout recovery drinks, it’s going to benefit you and your training program. Don’t believe me, give it a go for a week and let me know how your workouts and recovery change. I’m confident you’ll be thanking me.
Sponsored by 360ACCESS on behalf of Oasis Nutrisource