Do you reach for a cold drink before you hit the gym? Store shelves are packed with energy and sports drinks designed to improve your performance. While the drinks all have different formulas, research suggests that two ingredients—ginseng and yerba maté—can increase concentration, mental focus, and energy during your workout.
Concentrate on ginseng
Ginseng comes in two forms: American and Asian. While American ginseng is often used to help you recover from fatigue, Asian ginseng is said to act as a stimulant. They’ve been used to treat everything from baby gripe to sexual dysfunction.
But what makes it an appealing ingredient in sports drinks is its potential to help your mind stay in the game. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, people often say they feel more alert after taking ginseng and that the popular root might help improve:
- mental arithmetic
And, in a 2002 study, ginseng was also shown to improve respiratory muscle strength and endurance, increase exercise capacity, and improve airflow, making it a logical addition to your pre-workout routine.
Alert to yerba maté
Yerba maté is a common drink in South America and is said to help with mental clarity and sustained energy. A stimulant, yerba mate contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine per cup compared to coffee, which has 100 to 200 milligrams a cup.
But that’s not all. A study into the pharmacological properties of yerba maté showed that during exercise the herb can help maintain the aerobic breakdown of carbohydrates for extended periods of time. What does that mean for you? More calories burned and increased cardiac efficiency.
Choosing a sports drink can be daunting, but knowing what ingredients and benefits you’re looking for can help.
With ginseng offering mental concentration and focus and yerba maté offering increased energy, the two herbs are a natural addition to an effective pre-workout thirst quencher. Together, the two can prepare you to perform your best in the gym—mentally and physically.
The next time you’re looking for the perfect sports drink, check the label. It’ll tell you if it’s got what you’re looking for.