I love coffee for a pre-workout energy jolt, as well as its health-boosting potential, but at 145mg of caffeine per 8oz of brewed coffee it can be disruptive to stable energy levels and a good night’s sleep. Teas, on the other hand, can provide you with an energy boost without the spike and crash, while offering a massive array of health and performance benefits.
Here are some teas and herbal infusions runners should consider for their energetic and healing properties:
Bergamot (Earl Grey)
Bergamot (found in Earl Grey tea) has been shown to have mood-boosting properties. It can reduce stress and lower anxiety while giving you a gentle energy boost from its mild caffeine content (about 42 grams per 8 oz). Black tea is a wonderful alternative to coffee because it boosts alertness while also reducing anxiety, which is great if you find that coffee makes you jittery.
Green tea contains caffeine, although in much smaller amounts than coffee (24-40mg per 8oz), and it’s much gentler on the body. It also has great potential health benefits for athletes: green tea extract may improve the ability of muscle cells to use fat for energy. Green tea has also has been shown to improve blood circulation while protecting red blood cells and cell membranes – all factors contributing to optimal oxygen flow throughout the body.
You can drink mint tea throughout the day to increase alertness and improve mental focus, as well as to lower anxiety. It’s also great for reducing cold symptoms like coughing and congestion, and it doesn’t contain caffeine.
Ginger is a famous for its anti-inflammatory properties, which is great for muscle recovery. A study done by the University of Georgia found adult exercisers who took two grams of ginger daily had a significant reduction in muscle pain – by as much as 25 percent. Try fresh ginger and lemon in hot water with honey for a delicious post-workout brew.
Chamomile is primarily famous for its calming effects, as it is used in a lot of sleep-promoting teas. But it also has incredible anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can be used for recovery – both from strenuous workouts and from colds and flus.
Cayenne pepper is a miracle plant that helps reduce appetite and burn calories, reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. While brewing up a cup of cayenne water might be too intense for you, try sprinkling some cayenne in your coffee, black tea or hot chocolate – you might be surprised at how delicious this combination turns out to be.
Lemon verbeina has been shown to protect against muscle damage after strenuous training, as well as promoting joint health and boosting the immune system It also makes for a delicious tea all by itself!
Cinnamon is often found mixed into herbal tea blends, and with good reason. Not only does it add a delicious, naturally sweet touch, but it also helps to promote muscle recovery through its anti-inflammatory properties (although you should limit yourself to one teaspoon a day to protect your liver).
What are your favorite teas?
Written by Varia Makagonova.