Wait — chocolate milk is healthy after a workout? Looks like there is some truth behind having your cake and eating it too. According to Dr. John Ivy, lead researcher on studies conducted at the University of Texas, athletes who drank chocolate milk rather than other post-workout supplements had more muscle tone and were in better overall shape. If having chocolate guilt-free after working out isn't enough to get motivated, I don't know what is.
We all sweat when exercising, and this causes our body to lose electrolytes, which are the salts responsible for keeping our body running properly. Turns out that milk does an excellent job at replacing these lost salts. Two of the most important electrolytes, sodium and potassium, are abundant in milk. And because milk spends more time in the stomach than other substances, the body is able to absorb more.
The idea of resistance training followed by a glass of milk is the latest equation for muscle growth. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that drinking milk after exercise leads to an increase in muscle protein synthesis. The result? Your individual muscle cells will enlarge, notably with more lean mass.
Carbohydrate and protein content
It seems that the combination of chocolate and milk is perfect. Together, they contain the optimum carbohydrate-to-protein ratio that enables the body to fully recover from exercise, putting you in prime condition for your next workout. According to Dr. Charles Smith, family doctor at the University of Arkansas, chocolate milk contains double the amount of carbohydrates of milk alone or of sports drinks. This high carb content allows muscles to optimally recover and grow.
In comparison with other post-workout beverages, chocolate milk is more abundant in calcium and vitamin D, each of which serves extremely important functions, especially for the athlete. Alone and together, these nutrients do a lot for our body. They are known to improve athletic performance because of their effects on both bone and muscle, and injury is more likely to occur with a deficiency in either nutrient. Calcium supports our nervous system and is involved in hormone release, while vitamin D is important for the regulation of other minerals in the body. Luckily, one glass of chocolate milk contains nearly half of the daily requirement of calcium, and over one-third of our vitamin D requirements.
Aside from all the amazing things chocolate milk does for your body after a workout, it is also much less expensive than traditional supplements. It is easy to spend more than $100 at a health store for a supplement that may not even be as beneficial as chocolate milk, which is much cheaper and more easily accessible.
Full of the necessary vitamins, sugars and carbohydrates, chocolate milk will help you hit the ground running after your workout. You can enjoy your workout even more now, knowing you can come home and indulge in something healthy and delicious.
More on post-workout eating
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