The Ultimate Recovery Drink: Hot Chocolate After Workouts
Who doesn’t like hot chocolate after a hike or a day on the slopes? Yummy! But what about a cup of hot chocolate after workouts? This sweet drink allegedly has superpowers when it comes to post-workout recovery. The contained bifidobacteria multiply in our stomach and produce agents with anti-inflammatory properties…and that’s just one of several benefits. Sports physicians consider hot chocolate a real power drink.
Post Workout Hot Chocolate Ingredients
A cup of hot (or cold) chocolate provides you with an array of minerals your body needs for muscles and bones:
- Flavonoids (secondary plant substances)
- Vitamin D
Why Hot Chocolate After Workouts is Great for Recovery
The mixture of cacao powder and milk offers a perfect proportion of carbohydrates and protein after your workout: 3 parts carbs & 1 part protein. Drink a cup of this sweet treat to provide your muscles with the necessary post-workout recovery protein and help your body fill up on carbs. Carb & protein mixture boosts recovery even more than pure carb drinks like apple juice or alcohol-free beer.
Researchers found in an article in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism that chocolate milk is an effective workout recovery aid for endurance sports. Moreover, research in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that chocolate milk was a better recovery aid than commercial recovery drinks for endurance sports at low-moderate intensities.
If chocolate milk is great for recovery, then hot chocolate after workouts is even better during cold weather!
How flavonoids help
Flavonoids are so-called secondary plant substances. They are not only contained in cacao but also in red wine, grape juice, tea, fruit and vegetables and come with lots of positive, health-promoting properties[1, 2, 3]:
- Prevent cancer (they reduce the risk for stomach, colon and breast cancer)
- Antioxidants (they bind free radicals which can be the result of metabolic processes or environmental stress or cigarette smoke; radicals make your skin age faster and can promote diseases like cancer or cardiovascular diseases)
- Lower blood pressure
Recipe for the Perfect Hot Chocolate After a Workout
You just need a handful of ingredients for your own DIY hot chocolate recovery drink. Milk (low-fat, if you like), unsweetened cacao powder and sugar or honey – that’s all. Make sure you use natural cacao powder instead of sweetened cocoa powder as the latter has a too low cacao content and, therefore, too few flavonoids.
- 250ml / 1 cup milk*
- 1 Tbsp sugar or honey
- 1 Tbsp cacao powder (unsweetened) or 10g dark chocolate (with at least 85% cacao)
*Feel free to use soy milk, but make sure you use the sweetened version to reach the same amount of carbohydrates.
And voilà, you’ve got yourself a drink with 8g protein and 24g carbs.
Curious what other foods are great for runners? Learn what the nine best foods for runners are! Additionally, some people may experience belly bloat after exercise or drinking hot chocolate after a workout. Try these drinks to reduce belly bloat if that happens to you! Also, if you’re trying to lose weight, get the facts about running on an empty stomach first.
Try hot (or cold) chocolate as a powerful drink to aid recovery after your workouts and share your experience in the comments!