Are you a true athlete? Perhaps an amateur runner or an aspiring weightlifter? Wherever you may fall on the athletic prowess spectrum, the one constant for keeping your game at its best is to maintain peak physical condition. In addition to moving our bodies and keeping unnecessary stress at bay, the other major key to staying in shape is what we put in our bodies. Enter: the diet.
An athlete’s food and drink intake is a major element to their success, acting as the literal fuel for both the come-up and the come-down. And, as you may have guessed, we’d say that tea—if it’s the right kind—can play a critical role in an overall balanced and supportive diet for athletic excellence.
A quality loose-leaf tea is a nutritious and energizing alternative to the bevy of artificial and jitter-inducing beverages that promise long-lasting energy. One classic example is black tea, aka good old-fashioned camellia sinensis. For when you wake up and need that first-thing energy burst, no beverage is more apropos than Minty Morning from Heavenly Tea Leaves. This one has a black tea base that provides a steady and ongoing supply of energy (with moderate caffeine but without the shakes), and comes with the added benefit of a unique blend: invigorating spearmint and peppermint, plus aromatic lemongrass to round out the taste and provide health perks like cholesterol maintenance and antioxidants.
Next up on the list for athletes looking for a pick-me-up in liquid form? Rooibos! Derived from the African redbush plant, rooibos tea. This one isn’t specifically an energy booster, but it does help keep the body going thanks to large amounts of naturally occurring magnesium and zinc, plus calcium and manganese. These vitamins and minerals work to help blood flow, heal tissue, and absorb iron, which in turn helps to build muscle. Consider our tasty Organic Rooibos Orange the perfect, sweet-without-sweetner post-workout drink.
We’d be surprised if you haven’t guessed the next tea up on our list. What does green tea not offer, after all? The obvious part is that green tea offers the caffeine (again, without the jitters) that you can get from tea, plus a bevy of health benefits. (Our top choice with a real kick is Organic Energizer.) The not-so-obvious part is that studies have shown that the combination of the special antioxidants found in green tea, called catechins, may be specifically useful for athletes when combined with caffeine, which is inherent to green tea. According to Sports Performance Bulletin, studies have shown that this powerful combination “produces a ‘thermogenic effect’, boosting the rate at which calories are burned at rest and also increasing the rate of fat oxidation.” In turn, the body stays metabolically healthy and burns fat quicker at rest. That’s called a win-win.
And since we all enjoy winning, why not add one more tea to the athlete’s list? We’ll finish off with pu’er, which is last but certainly not least in our book. Although it gets less airtime in the tea conversation, pu’er is an excellent tea for maintaining overall health, as mentioned in our previous post about the health benefits of tea. This fermented tea has been shown to help lower blood sugar, boost metabolism, help keep blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels, and even aid digestion. Another one perfect for the come-down, pu’er is definitely on our list of recommendations for athletes. For an exciting blend that’s velvety, tart, and floral all at the same time, have a daily dose of Heavenly Tea Leaves’ Slim Down.
For sprinters and wrestlers and yogis alike, lifestyle is everything. And putting diet at the forefront of your holistic lifestyle is likely to yield amazing results. Tea, essentially used as everyday medicine, is one of the best remedies–and we’ve named four amazing ones right in this post. So before (and after) pumping iron or going for that bike ride, remind yourself to take a sip!