Why should athletes drink cranberry juice before/after exercise?

Cranberry juice around exercise helps athletes improve sports performance, build muscle mass, and run for longer. It promotes hydration and recovery after hard training sessions.

Benefits of drinking cranberry juice before a workout

Cranberry juice is one of the most nutrient-dense beverages. It’s packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.

Athletes should have high antioxidant status in their blood and muscles for better physical performance and faster recovery.

That’s the main reason why athletes should drink cranberry juice as a pre-workout beverage.

Low Glycemic Index

In addition, athletes could drink a glass of cranberry juice before a demanding workout because it provides steady levels of energy during exercise.

Firstly, cranberry juice, like all fruit juices, it’s high in sugar. An 8 fl oz glass of cranberry juice contains about 27 grams of sugar.[1]

Still, cranberry juice has a medium glycemic index. It’s between 52 and 68. Thus, cranberry juice doesn’t spike blood sugar levels.[2]

Athletes should consume foods and beverages with a low glycemic index before a workout. They should have high energy levels throughout the exercise.

The high antioxidant content as well as the pretty low sugar content of cranberries are responsible for the low glycemic index of cranberry juice.

May play a role in energy metabolism

Furthermore, cranberry juice contains many vitamins that are involved in energy metabolism.

For instance, a cup of cranberries provides 8% of the recommended daily intake of pantothenic acid. This B vitamin is essential for muscle cell energy metabolism.

Cranberry juice enhances athletic performance!Pin

Besides energy production, pantothenic acid plays a key role in the absorption and transport of iron! Normal levels of iron are crucial for athletes.

How long before a workout should athletes drink cranberry juice?

Athletes can drink a glass of cranberry juice a couple of minutes before a workout. Among other benefits, it helps us stay well-hydrated.

However, you should avoid consuming raw cranberries right before exercise. They’re packed with fiber.

A high fiber intake before exercise can cause bloating, stomach cramps, discomfort, and many more adverse effects. Hence, it can severely affect sports performance!

Why should athletes drink cranberry juice during a workout?

Athletes can drink cranberry juice throughout exercise as well.

Firstly, it constantly keeps a high antioxidant content in the blood and muscles. It may delay fatigue and even reduce recovery time.

Also, sugar in cranberry juice is an instant source of energy. Consuming sugar during intense exercise is beneficial for improved physical performance. Fruit juices are among the healthiest sources of sugar.


In addition, drinking cranberry juice during a workout is good for athletes because it hydrates the body.

Above all, cranberry juice is mainly high-quality, purified water. Cranberries, like all fruits, are natural water filters!

Moreover, cranberry juice hydrates better than tap water because it contains certain essential electrolytes. An 8 oz glass provides:

  • potassium: 240 mg, 7% DV
  • magnesium: 17.4 mg, 4% DV
  • calcium: 27 mg, 3% DV

Replenishing electrolytes is as important as replenishing fluids. Otherwise, electrolyte imbalances may occur, significantly affecting sports performance.

For instance, leg cramps are a common adverse effect of electrolyte imbalances among runners and other athletes.

Benefits of drinking cranberry juice after exercise!

Drinking cranberry juice as a post-workout beverage has great benefits for athletes. It substantially increases the total antioxidant capacity in the bodies of athletes.[3]

The high antioxidant content is vital for fast recovery after strenuous exercise! It helps athletes perform more demanding workouts per year! This is key for better athletic performance!

How long after a workout should athletes drink cranberry juice?

Both athletes of bodybuilding and endurance athletes can drink cranberry juice right after a workout.

Besides its high antioxidant content, cranberry juice is packed with sugars. Actually, the best time of the day to consume sugar is right after strenuous exercise. Then sugar doesn’t make you fat.

Cranberry juice is the best pre- and post-workout beverage!Pin

It helps replenish muscle glycogen stores, instead. This process is crucial for fast recovery! Athletes who work out daily or elite athletes who attend an athletic event should be very mindful of getting high amounts of easily digested carbohydrate-rich foods. Especially after exercise.

For this reason, even highly processed, sugar-packed foods, such as Coca-Cola and candy could be great post-workout snacks. Certainly, you better stick to vitamin-dense foods, like fruits, though.

What’s the best time to drink cranberry juice for muscle recovery?

Although flavonoids and other antioxidants in cranberries promote muscle recovery, they may have side effects as well.

They appear to inhibit absorption of protein and other vitamins! In fact, polyphenols may bind to proteins, decreasing digestion rates. Impaired protein digestibility is bad for athletes who work out for muscle growth or strength.[4]

So, the best time of the day to drink a glass of cranberry juice for athletes is after strenuous exercise on an empty stomach. Wait at least 30 minutes before consuming your first post-workout meal or smoothie.

You can drink it before or during a workout as well.

The worst time to drink cranberry juice

You should avoid drinking cranberry juice, or other cranberry supplements, with your post-workout meal.

For instance, you should avoid drinking cranberry juice with protein powder, eggs, Greek yogurt, or any other nutrient-dense, protein-rich food.

Before bed

If you exercise late in the evening, drinking a cup of cranberry juice as a healthy post-workout beverage is good for you for another reason.

Cranberries are the richest foods in melatonin! Melatonin is among the most important hormones in the human body. Above all, it regulates the circadian rhythm. It helps us sleep better at night. A good night’s sleep is essential for building muscle mass and faster recovery!

In fact, melatonin has many benefits for elite and amateur athletes!

Also, melatonin supports a lean body, as it helps lose weight.

How often should athletes drink cranberry juice?

Healthy athletes who have a normal body weight can drink a glass of cranberry juice daily as part of a well-balanced diet. Preferably around exercise on an empty stomach.

Whole cranberries or cranberry juice for better athletic performance?

As a rule of thumb, most people should consume whole fruits rather than fruit juices. Above all, whole fruits are excellent dietary sources of fiber, while fruit juices contain negligible amounts.

Fiber has many health benefits, though. A high-fiber diet may lower the risk of developing high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, elevated serum cholesterol, certain gastrointestinal diseases, and heart disease to name a few.[5]

Cranberry juice has no fiber, while raw cranberries are packed with fiber. A cup provides 18% of the Daily Value!

Benefits of drinking a glass of cranberry juice for athletes.Pin

Hence, athletes should benefit from consuming raw cranberries as well. But, they should avoid consuming them a couple of hours before a workout.

If you don’t work out regularly, you should avoid the regular consumption of cranberry juice or any other fruit juice, due to their high sugar content. A cup of raw cranberries at breakfast is the best way to start your day.

How to incorporate cranberries into your daily diet routine?

Cranberries are a versatile food. They taste great with many recipes. You can incorporate raw cranberries into your diet by adding them to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt-based snacks, cakes, muffins, pancakes, bread, and many more!

Benefits of cranberries for endurance athletes!

Nitric oxide

Cranberries appear to have many benefits for runners and other endurance athletes.

Firstly, cranberries promote the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO), as they’re rich in nitrite, polyphenols, and L-arginine. Nitric oxide may enhance endurance exercise performance.

High levels of nitric oxide promote blood flow and improve oxygen delivery, as well as the utilization of oxygen during exercise![6]

Also, nitric oxide supports the contraction of skeletal muscle and endothelial function. It’s good for the heart.

Thus, endurance athletes should consume a wide variety of foods that mediate the synthesis of nitric oxide.

Combine cranberries with raisins, and almonds. They also stimulate the synthesis of nitric oxide.


Additionally, antioxidant properties of cranberries may reduce exercise-induced oxidative damage, improving recovery and reducing fatigue from strenuous physical training.

Polyphenols in cranberries and other healthy foods may also improve blood flow. They seem to play a key role in muscle oxygenation during high-intensity training.[7]

Polyphenols may stimulate oxygen delivery during both maximal anaerobic and aerobic efforts.


Furthermore, raw cranberries are particularly rich in manganese. A cup provides 16% of the recommended daily intake.

Endurance athletes should get adequate amounts of manganese daily, as it’s involved in protein, glucose, and carbohydrate metabolism.[8]

Manganese is necessary for strong bones. Actually, 25% to 40% of manganese is stored in the bones.

Also, manganese is required for the synthesis of many enzymes that scavenge free radicals that exhaustive exercise produces in abundance. Manganese enhances immune functions.

Benefits of cranberries for athletes of bodybuilding!

Athletes of bodybuilding or any athlete who works out for muscle gain or strength would benefit from drinking cranberry juice around resistance training.

Antioxidants in cranberries may reduce muscle damage after hard workouts.

Also, nitric oxide promotes post-workout muscle repair and hypertrophy! Increased blood flow enhances nutrient replenishment and muscle protein synthesis in fatigued muscles.

Support a lean body

Moreover, flavonoids in cranberries help bodybuilders build a lean body. These potent antioxidant compounds have been linked to a low Body Mass Index.[9]

In fact, the consumption of cranberry juice, as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet, could effectively reduce fat accumulation. Quercetin, which is a flavonoid found abundant in cranberries, plays a key role in the prevention of fat synthesis.[10]

Additionally, cranberry juice supports a lean body because it’s low in calories as compared with other common fruit juices. An 8 oz glass has only 125 calories.

Athletes of bodybuilding have high needs of vitamin C

Furthermore, cranberry juice is a great post-workout beverage for bodybuilders as well as other athletes because it’s particularly rich in vitamin C. A serving provides 78% of the Daily Value!

Athletes of bodybuilding have much higher needs for vitamin C than the general population. Among others, vitamin C is key for collagen synthesis and muscle recovery.

Cholesterol & triglycerides

Bodybuilders should drink cranberry juice as part of a healthy diet for another reason. It may protect the heart.[11]

It’s rather common for bodybuilders to consume high amounts of animal-derived foods in order to boost protein intake. However, animal-derived foods are packed with saturated fat as well. High intakes of saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol levels, substantially increasing the risk of heart disease.

Drinking cranberry juice as part of a healthy diet may reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels in just 2 months.[12,13]

How much cranberry juice should an athlete drink per day?

As a rule of thumb, an 8 fl oz glass of cranberry juice around exercise is more than enough for more athletes. It supports a lean body, as it helps burn fat.

You should be very cautious with serving sizes if you want to lose weight or maintain a lean body. Drinking too much cranberry juice can make you fat.

sizecaloriessugars (g)
212 oz38082
28 oz25054
112 oz19041
18 oz12527
Calorie & sugar content of cranberry juice.

Only long-distance endurance athletes or athletes of bodybuilding in the bulking phase could drink much higher amounts, as they have increased energy needs.

How should athletes drink cranberry juice?

Actually, there are countless ways to enjoy your favorite fruit juice. You can combine it with other fruit juices in order to get more vitamins and minerals. Phytochemicals in fruit juices, when combined, act synergistically. This is key for good health and better athletic performance.

Fruit juices high in iron

Firstly, athletes could drink cranberry juice with any juice packed with iron. Prune and raspberry juices are the best sources of iron.

Athletes should be very mindful of consuming adequate amounts of iron every day. Iron deficiency is pretty common among athletes. It has detrimental effects on athletic performance.

Intense training, poor diet, and environmental stress contribute to iron deficiency.

Iron is essential for many processes of physical performance, such as oxygen transport and energy metabolism.[14]

Orange juice for vitamin C

Moreover, you could combine cranberry juice with orange juice to boost your vitamin C intake.

Pineapple juice for bromelain

Pineapple juice is also particularly rich in vitamin C. However, you should combine it with cranberry juice as an excellent post-workout beverage because it’s the only dietary source of bromelain.

Bromelain is an enzyme that has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It helps relieve joint pain, which is pretty common among athletes.

Beetroot juice for increased blood flow

Additionally, athletes could drink cranberry juice with beetroot juice before a race or workout. Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of nitrates that the body metabolizes to nitric oxide.

Athletes should drink a cup of cranberry juice before, during, or after strenuous exercise!Pin

As this molecule greatly improves blood flow, it enhances muscle pump in bodybuilders and helps endurance athletes run for longer!

In fact, nitric oxide supplements are common pre-workouts among various athletes. But, as long-term studies for side effects aren’t available, you should prefer consuming foods that naturally increase nitric oxide concentrations.

Are cranberry supplements beneficial for athletes?

If you don’t like drinking cranberry juice or eating raw cranberries, you could at least take advantage of cranberry’s superior nutritional value by taking cranberry supplements.

Athletes who take cranberry supplements have significantly higher resting, post-exercise and post-recovery levels of antioxidant capacity.

Hard-training athletes may benefit by taking 1,200 mg of cranberry extract for 6 weeks. You can get this dosage from cranberry supplements.[3]

You can find a wide variety of cranberry supplements on iHerb. As it’s the world’s largest platform for supplements and wellness products, it provides unbeatable prices!

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