Best Foods for Athletes: Chocolate Milk

Sure, carbo-loading's important—but for top-notch performance, it's just part of the story. Supplement your training with these healthy eats that will help you build strength, sustain energy, and recover faster.

Chocolate milk     Photo: Shutterstock/ Efired

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need massive amounts of protein after a workout. "What you really need for recovery is simple carbs with a little bit of protein—about a four or five to one ratio," says Lewin. You could find that in some store-bought drinks, she says, or you could mix up a glass of low-fat chocolate milk and get the same benefits. Plus, the caffeine in chocolate dilates and relaxes blood vessels, helping oxygen-rich blood reach your muscles more quickly and easily. Lewin's other favorite recovery drink? Tart cherry juice, which has been shown to help prevent inflammation and reduce muscle soreness.

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