Studies have found that a cup of green tea could help our muscles recover from our runs – we find out more
We’ve all heard that green tea is supposed to be good for us – packed full of antioxidants, research suggests that it may benefit everything from brain health to digestion. But did you know that it also has been linked to faster muscle recovery after exercise?
A number of studies have been done with athletes to find out exactly what’s going on with green tea and exercise. Although all quite small, all found a positive link between green tea supplementation and muscle recovery. As many of us will know, the more recovered our muscles are, the better we can perform on our next run. The studies backed this up: some found that the participants increased their endurance over time, while others noticed improved speed and performance.
And that’s not all; the studies also showed that green tea could help us protect us from one of the few downsides of exercising. Time for a quick science lesson!
Physical activity causes increased oxidant production in our muscles. You might have heard that oxidative stress is bad for our bodies, damaging our body’s cells and contributing to ageing and development of certain diseases. As with most types of stress, this isn’t all bad – mild oxidative stress from physical activity helps us to regulate tissue growth and stimulates the production of antioxidants. But long-term oxidative stress can quickly build up, causing some of those negative effects.
Thanks to those aforementioned anti-oxidants, or catechins, the studies reported fewer signs of oxidative stress in the athletes who having green tea than in those who weren’t.
So, we’re ready to go green. Does it matter when we drink it in relation to our run? Experts say timing isn’t too important – it’s regular, long-term use that’s key – though do remember that green tea does contain caffeine, so morning may be best. If you’re not a fan of the taste, some of the studies used a green tea extract supplement, which offered the same results. We’ll put the kettle on!