Pomegranate Ginger Sports Drink

Disclosure: I received free samples of POM Wonderful mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by POM Wonderful and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Alright readers, it’s pomegranate week! This afternoon while I was in the kitchen perfecting a delicious recipe that will be up later in the week, this one just came to me.

I also realized I had to post it right away because

  1. it’s SO unbelievably easy
  2. as a sports dietitian I somehow don’t have a sports drink recipe on this blog
  3. pomegranate juice has been getting me through “long workouts” the past few weeks

Homemade Pomegranate Sports Drink

Many people are afraid of sports drinks due to the sugar content though. Well, guess what? “Sugar” or “glucose” is the only usable form of carbohydrate energy in the body. Any other carbohydrate you eat has to be converted to this for use. If you’re exercising for longer than an hour you need to replenish these things! Carbs are the most effective energy source for your muscles to complete high intensity exercise, but they also fuel your brain as you use it during exercise, too. Even if your muscle carb storage is full when you begin a workout, by 75 minutes into endurance exercise you’re almost completely out of this energy. When you run out, your intensity drops, blood sugar drops and protein use for energy increases. Not a good result! This is one reason it’s important to consume carbohydrate during a workout, no matter what time of year it is or what climate you’re in.

The energy in POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice is also entering your body with plenty of antioxidants. The pomegranate is whole-pressed, meaning a unique blend of polyphenol antioxidants from two whole pomegranates – including its fruit, pith and rind – is found in each 8 oz serving.

Click for more on carb needs and why you shouldn’t restrict them.

Some other people fear the sodium in sports drinks. Guess what else? You need this nutrient, too! An inactive American requires 1500 mg per day. One serving of a typical sports drink provides 110 – 150 mg at a time when you need to replace it to regulate fluid balance. If you don’t have enough, you can’t maintain proper hydration. Without the carbs and the sodium, your low blood sugar and dehydration are not only bad for your health and fitness, but may lead you to overeat later.

In this pomegranate sports drink, you’re also getting the nutrient most people don’t get enough of while consuming excess sodium – potassium. Having a good ratio of sodium to potassium is what allows us to best maintain fluid balance. While you won’t sweat out much potassium in exercise, you need a whole lot more of it than sodium – 4,700 mg to be exact – and 8 ounces of POM Wonderful provides almost 500 mg (the same as a banana).

Pomegranate Ginger Sports Drink

Typically, I only fuel with carbohydrate during exercise over 60-75 minutes, which tends to be when I am training for races in the summer. I realized early on in my pregnancy that other than my 24 hour nausea {yes, it’s still here at almost 32 weeks}, I couldn’t exercise for longer than 10 minutes without getting dizzy and even more nauseous. Having a bit of carbs during workouts has helped,  so I sort of self-diagnosed that I’m dealing with a bit of hypoglycemia, too. On Christmas Eve I was headed to a cardio class with my sister and realized I was out of maple water, which has been my go-to workout drink during pregnancy. I did have some POM pomegranate juice in the fridge though, so I poured about 4 ounces of it into my water bottle to mix with water and off I went. I felt great {comparatively} during that workout! Since then, I’ve been mixing POM with my water each time I exercise.

Even better, there’s some early research that the polyphenol antioxidants in 100% Pomegranate Juice may benefit post-workout muscle strength recovery. The polyphenols in pomegranate juice may increase nitric oxidide bioavailability by protecting it from breaking down in the body.* I just updated a dietitian continuing education course on nitric oxide and exercise benefits… this is definitely a good thing! Nitric oxide helps your body get oxygen and nutrients to cells more effectively during exercise.

*Although the research reported is promising, additional clinical research is needed to establish causation and the potential impact of pomegranate polyphenols and exercise.

Being that pomegranate juice tastes great and has been my sports drink, an 8 ounce serving has as much potassium as a banana, and that ginger is excellent for nausea and limiting GI distress during endurance exercise, this recipe came together rather quickly and deliciously.

Hope you enjoy it any time of year!

Pomegranate Ginger Sports Drink

Makes 4 Servings

Pomegranate Sports Drink

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate juice
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of one medium lemon

Directions

  • Sprinkle ginger and salt on the bottom of a pitcher or large glass bowl
  • Pour water and POM Wonderful over top, and immediately stir with a whisk to incorporate the ginger and salt
  • Squeeze in lemon juice, stir and serve!

Provides 75 energizing calories per serving and 150 mg of sodium

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8 thoughts on “Pomegranate Ginger Sports Drink

  1. Pingback: Warm Pomegranate Panzanella | Kelly Jones | Philadelphia Sports Nutrition

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