Summer is the perfect time to master the art of smoothie making. Not only because smoothies are super refreshing and easy to drink on the go, but they’re incredibly adaptable too. It’s easy to create exciting new flavor combinations using ingredients you have right on hand.
Smoothies are also the perfect recovery fuel after a long workout, especially in the summer, when it’s easy to overheat. One of my very favorite combinations right now is this Wild Blueberry post-exercise recovery drink. I call it my natural Gatorade.
If you’ve been exercising for over an hour in the summer heat, you should think about replacing not only fluids, but also sodium, magnesium, and potassium, the main electrolytes that are lost with prolonged or heavy sweating. In this delicious and refreshing smoothie, you get a powerhouse of post-workout benefits including hydration, muscle recovery, and antioxidant protection.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
Watermelon and coconut water help with rehydration and supply a steady stream of electrolytes and natural salts.
Wild Blueberries provide amazing post workout antioxidant protection. This is important because a not-so-good side effect of exercise is an increase in free radical production. Free radicals are molecules created by the breakdown of oxygen during metabolism. The process is natural and happens simply by breathing, but too many circulating in your body can damage cells and cause premature aging. Antioxidants are important because their main job is to counteract the damage created by free radicals.
Wild Blueberries get their powerful antioxidant protection from anthocyanins, the flavonoids found in their gorgeous blue pigment. These flavonoids have the ability to neutralize free radicals and help prevent cell damage. Antioxidants also protect against inflammation, thought to be a leading factor in brain aging, Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative diseases. (If you were thinking of using regular, cultivated blueberries in your smoothie, think again. One serving of frozen Wild Blueberries provides twice the antioxidant capacity of larger, cultivated blueberries.)
And finally, as if all of these amazing properties weren’t enough, I added frozen cherries to the mix. Frozen cherries are great for muscle recovery, helping to reduce exercise-related muscle damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress. They help delay the onset of muscle soreness seen after exercise, as well as reduce muscle soreness seen in other conditions, like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.
After one sip of this delicious and nutritious smoothie, it won’t be hard to bid farewell to sugar-laden sports drinks, juices, and soda.
My Wild Blueberry recovery drink is the perfect healthy reward after a long, sweaty workout!