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Milk as a recovery drink

A growing amount of research is showing that milk, and even better – chocolate milk, is an effective and relatively cheap strategy for recovering from exercise. Functional foods and drinks have grown in popularity in recent years. You only need to look at the success of beetroot juice, coconut water and the boom in ‘super fruits’ to see how the nutrition market has changed.

I still remember drinking whole milk out of a glass bottle every day at primary school! This certainly wasn’t introduced into schools to help recover from exercise but there are no doubt nutritional benefits to be gained from drinking milk. Milk is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B2 and protein.

So, why has milk been touted as a good recovery drink? About 85% water and low in fat, chocolate milk rehydrates while providing a carbohydrate-protein combination of 2:1 or 3:1 with chocolate milk, that aids in the quick recovery of muscle tissue. 600ml of milk provides about 30g of carbohydrate, which is necessary to help replenish muscle glycogen stores and about 20g of protein to maximise muscle protein synthesis. Furthermore, milk has been proven to be an effective rehydration drink as it contains sodium and potassium which helps replace electrolytes lost in sweat. This may help reduce the feeling of DOMs and reduce the decline in muscle performance usually observed after endurance exercise.

Practical guidelines: