On 16 November 2014 I will be running a marathon. I’m travelling to Istanbul to run the only marathon that crosses two continents (Europe and Asia) and I’m aiming for a Personal Best. This will be tough given that I ran the New York Marathon in 2013 in 3hours 36 minutes, but I’m going to train as smart as I can, have the most efficient kit and treat my body nicely on rest days. I’m also keeping a running diary packed with new things I’m bringing into my routine. Today I’m looking at anti-oxidants and dietary nitrates.
‘Anti-oxidants’ and ‘nitrates’ sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it? The pre-Marathon Zoe would bury her head in the sand if she heard a word she didn’t understand, but I’ve been doing a lot of research this time round and these two words keep popping up again and again.
CherryActive is a way to get anti-oxidants and top sportspeople have raved about it, so I felt I needed to see what the fuss about. The research I did suggested that we need anti-oxidants for recovery. Exercise, especially endurance events, causes free radicals which can lead to cell damage and disease and even ageing. However, anti-oxidants fight the free radicals and strengthens the immune system.
Of course, you can get anti-oxidants in fruit and vegetables but a 30ml serving of Cherry Active gives you about the same free radical quenching ability as the equivalent of over 20 typical portions of fruit and vegetables. It’s super simple to drink and portable. Add the sachet to your water bottle and you can get it into you straight after the gym. A serving has approx 100cal, which is less than a typical sports drink like Lucozade or Gatorade and those don’t have the same anti-oxidant properties.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the taste as it’s rare that things that are good for you are palatable but this was absolutely delicious! I’ve always loved the taste of cherries and this tasted like fresh cherries – the summery ripe British ones, not the ones that have been imported in and lost their taste on the plane. YUM! I love running anyway, most of the time, but it might give me a lift while I’m out to think I have a glass of something tasty waiting for me at the end.
Now let’s move on to nitrates, which can be found in CherryActive’s sister product, BeetActive.
The research I did suggested this supplement could help me perform better in the marathon. Taking before running (as opposed to after like CherryActive) it could improve my marathon time by making me a more efficient athlete.
Consuming dietary nitrates can increase natural nitric oxide (NO) production by the body. Nitric NO works by relaxing and widening blood vessels, so blood pressure is reduced and blood flow is increased to organs and tissues – delivering increased oxygen and nutrients. Also, NO can reduce the damage that can build up from oxidation during exercise so it helps with recovery and prevents against lactic acid build-up.
It will also turn urine purple, something Sir Chris Hoy has Tweeted about But then look at all the medals he’s won – its worth it!
The research I’ve done also suggests to take the drinks in advance of the race so I’ve started straight away. I have a week to get it going round my system. The science part of it makes sense, now lets see how it works in practise!
Visit the CherryActive website for more details and articles about the benefits of anti-oxidants and nitrates.