The gold medal of sports drinks goes to milk.

Milk is like a perennial champion. When you think it can’t get any better, that’s precisely when it does. Now, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics, new data shows that milk is an excellent source of four of its most performance-boosting nutrients: potassium, zinc, selenium and iodine.

Real milk hasn’t changed its formula—because it doesn’t have one. What’s shifted—for the better—is our understanding of just how well these four nutrients (along with 4 B Vitamins, Vitamin A, calcium, iodine and potassium) help aid muscle repair and hydration, as well as bone strength and immune health. For those keeping score, real milk delivers 13 nutrients from just three ingredients—milk and vitamins A and D. Vitamin A maintains healthy tissue growth while vitamin D helps the body utilize minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. As any boxer will tell you, that’s called punching above your weight.

This is just part of the story of why milk is unchallenged as the original, and greatest, sports drink. In terms of natural ingredients, when compared to the chemically-enhanced, artificially colored, sweetener-boosted beverages grabbing so much shelf space and advertising dollars, it’s not even close.  More and more top athletes agree that by comparison, milk is in a league of its own. In fact, nine out of 10 U.S. Olympians say they grew up drinking milk.

Decades of research make it clear that their parents knew best. Science now shows that drinking milk to help your post-exercise recovery and rehydration is just as effective, if not better, than drinking sports drinks. Milk’s nutrients—protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water—are quickly absorbed and metabolized by the body to produce energy during the game, and to replenish nutrient stores after every final whistle. That’s because milk is a great source of carbohydrates. As any pasta-eating distance runner will tell you, carbs consumed within thirty minutes after exercising are transported to muscles for immediate use or stored as glycogen for the next activity.

These are just a few of the reasons why so many top athletes will choose real milk. After they’ve climbed down from the podium, of course.


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