Mood for Life

nutrition, exercise, meditation optimized

Intense green tea and hibiscus work-out drink

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Intense physical exercise is often associated with an increase in the production of free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in various tissues, which may overwhelm the capacity of the antioxidant defense systems[1].

Oxidative stress, induced by the accumulation of large amounts of ROS and an imbalance between ROS and antioxidants, can lead to the destruction of tissue and cell macromolecules such as lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. It has been suggested that exercise-induced oxidative stress may be associated with muscle fatigue, muscle damage, and a decrease in physical performance.

Use of green tea prevents oxidative stress in endurance athletes[2].  Polyphenols from Hibiscus flowers appear to induce an endothelium-dependent relaxant effect via stimulation of nitric oxide production or a decrease of blood viscosity.

Adding hot water to tea bags help solubilize the polyphenols because the temperature softens the cells walls and increases the solubility of cellular contents; steeping 5 minutes or so is enough.  But there is a “biohack” that can get the goodies into solution even faster: blending.  The reason is that agitation in the aqueous environment and particle size reduction aids the extraction.  High-speed blenders can get the particle size down below 100 microns and the agitation is maximal. Reduction of tea time availability: 5 minutes from “steeping” to less than 30 seconds using blending.

Here is what I do to make a “water bottle” mixture for exercise. This uses bulk tea leaves (no tea bags, which are much more expensive).

  • Place one to three tablespoons of raw dried Hibiscus flowers into a blender (mine is 64 ounce capacity).
  • (optional) Add one to three tablespoons green tea leaves.
  • Add a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice (to protect the antioxidants when blending).
  • Add ice (optional) and water to three quarters of the capacity of the blender.
  • (optional) If the sour bitter taste is an issue (I actually prefer it), add a date or date syrup to taste.

References

[1] Alessio, H. M. (1993). Exercise-induced oxidative stress. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 25(2). doi:10.1249/00005768-199302000-00010

[2] Jówko, E., Długołęcka, B., Makaruk, B., & Cieśliński, I. (2015). The effect of green tea extract supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative stress parameters in male sprinters. European Journal Of Nutrition54(5), 783-791. doi:10.1007/s00394-014-0757-1