Loving the BITE: Watermelon Cooler (Great Recovery Option)
I was in the middle of a 5-hour ride last weekend, and it was hot. For some reason, I couldn’t get the thought of watermelon off my mind. Just seemed so refreshing, and I really, really wanted some. When I got home I did get a melon. But, it sure would have been nice to have this week’s Loving the Bike Recipe ready for recovery.
Loving the BITE: Deliciously Refreshing Watermelon Cooler Recovery Drink
- 1 cup cubed watermelon
- 1/2 cup frozen berries or cherries
- ½ cup coconut water (or plain water if no coconut water available)
- 6 ounces organic plain yogurt or 1/2 scoop protein powder
- 5 grams l-glutamine (optional)
- 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger (optional)
- ice, if needed for consistency
Watermelon seems to be popping up at more and more aide station across endurance races. And, it’s for good reason. Not only is this hydrating fruit a refreshing choice, it’s also packed full of great nutrients for athletes. Here’s what a little watermelon can do for you:
- Like other red fruits and vegetables, watermelon is high in lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient that’s especially important for our cardiovascular health, and an increasing number of scientists now believe that lycopene is important for bone health as well. Cardiovascular and bone health and function are incredibly important to a cyclist.
- Citrulline – an important amino acid. Citrulline is an amino acid that is commonly converted by our kidneys and other organ systems into arginine (another amino acid). When our body absorbs this citrulline, one of the steps it can take is conversion of citrulline into arginine. Particularly if a person’s body is not making enough arginine, higher levels of arginine can help improve blood flow and other aspects of our cardiovascular health. In fact, arginine is used to help produce nitric oxide in the body, the same muscle and vessel relaxant that’s increased with beets intake. This can mean improvements in blood and oxygen flow and uptake by the muscles, which is especially important for performance and recovery.
- Phenols in watermelon have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant functions. These can reduce chronic cellular inflammation in the body and fight free radicals and oxidative stress, which damage cells and tissues.
Although watermelon is a wonderfully healthy choice most anytime, it can be especially beneficial for athletes before, during or after training. If a hot day on the bike has you daydreaming of this sweet, satisfying, hydrating, fruit, don’t be afraid to make it a part of your recovery. In my opinion, whole foods are the best recovery choice when you’re able to use them. Watermelons are deliciously in season this time of year. This week, use your melon and recover well!
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.