The weather is warming up and hot weather running is well underway. Sure, we could drink sports drink to rehydrate and replace electrolytes after a workout, but there’s another option worth considering. It’s tomato juice.
New research published in the Nutrition Journal points to tomato juice for having the potential to reduce stress related to reactive oxygen species (ROS). They found that drinking equivalent of 15 mg lycopene per day significantly reduced serum levels of 8-oxodG, a marker of oxidative stress, after extensive exercise. The study had subjects drinking 5 ounces of tomato juice a day for 5 weeks to meet the 15 mg/day of lycopene goal.
Tomato juice during the warmer weather months can also offer benefit in replacing electrolytes after hot summer running. Instead of grabbing a sports drink after working out we could be sipping on tomato juice over ice. In addition to lycopene tomato juice contains other valuable nutrients such as vitamin C and B vitamins, potassium, and even iron. If the higher sodium content or electrolyte replacement is not needed, purchase low sodium tomato juice or make your own juice at home to take advantage of it’s rich antioxidant content.
In terms of a complete recovery beverage tomato juice is not a significant source of carbohydrates and protein. After intense workouts carbohydrates and protein play a major role in the recovery process. This means that on those hard effort days tomato juice could work at complimenting a recovery snack that contains sufficient carbohydrates and protein to maximize the recovery process, but not replace it.