Winter calls for a cup of comforting hot cocoa for many. Athlete's are no exception. After hours of training in the cold winter air, athletes often turn to a steamy cup of cocoa to warm the body. Athletes can use a cup of hot chocolate for more than just its warmth. It can boost your health and performance as well.
Boost With Protein
Chocolate milk has long been a choice recovery beverage for athletes. Simply heating this blend doesn't make it any less of a recovery option as it still provides protein and carbohydrates your body needs to boost recovery. If using a non-animal-based milk beverage, you'll want to add a scoop of your favorite protein to the cocoa mix to provide your body with the protein necessary for muscle repair and synthesis.
Make It Dark
Cocoa itself is loaded with health-promoting properties from naturally occurring polyphenols. These compounds have been linked to improving many chronic and degenerative health diseases due to their anti-inflammatory nature. Using dark cacao provides more of these beneficial compounds that might help protect against muscle damage.
Mix in Lavender
Sleep deeper by adding lavender to your cocoa. Lavender has shown the ability to speed sleep onset and total duration in research. Since performance can benefit from sleep, this little trick could give you a competitive edge.
Research is still very limited on whether CBD (cannabidiol) oil provides any benefits, what those benefits are and the dosing required for those supposed benefits. That being said, CDB is becoming hugely popular among athletes. Users report the addition of CBD oil can produce a calm, relaxed feeling that helps athletes recover from performance stress and sleep better. Mix a drop of this oil into your cocoa and see if it works for you.
Add in Adaptogens
Adaptogens are plants popular in Ayurvedic medicine for their ability to assist the body in responding better to stressors. Experimenting with these substances could help your body rebound from training stress more quickly. One specific adaptogen of interest is cordyceps, a mushroom, that might be able to boost your endurance. Use a frothing wand or whisk to mix in a powdered form to your cocoa.
Make It a Mocha
The biggest legal and researched boost you can give your performance is caffeine. Add espresso to your hot cocoa for a pre-workout beverage that will provide carbohydrates and caffeine to give you energy to burn.
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