It’s a truism that runners love free stuff. Big races are ideal places for companies to promote their latest energy-giving/electrolyte-restoring/brain-boosting/fast-making/life-altering products. At the end of an event, participants can often be seen trotting back to their cars car with their arms full of goodies, mostly of the edible/drinkable/wearable/coupon variety. (The Oscars themselves would struggle to compete on sheer swag volume.)
Which is how we came upon Bai, a newish addition to the family of drinks that are 95% super-powerful-previously-undiscovered-awesome-ingredient-du-jour and 5% liquid (Mamma Chia also falls into this category).
Why single out Bai? Well, Hubby was clearly so enamored of the beverage’s “astonishing antioxidant power of 4,000 ORAC units” that he had to buy 24 bottles of the stuff. Savvy readers will recall his similar purchase of 48 Roco Choco Banana Bunny Bars this past Christmas. What can I say, the man likes his foodstuff in bulk form …
What the heck is an ORAC?
This vaguely menacing term stands for “oxygen radical absorbance capacity,” which is a lab value used to compare the antioxidant content of foods. Perfect to highlight on the side of your product. Completely baffling! Slightly scary! Yet intriguing!
Bai’s off-the-charts ORACity comes from “coffee’s secret superfruit,” the formerly unloved product of the coffee plant that has been reborn as a beverage superhero with “astonishing antioxidant power.” Here’s a helpful diagram that may clear up any confusion:
In your face, blueberries!
According to the Bai guy, in addition to all this antioxidant goodness, each bottle contains 70 mg of caffeine, or 35 mg per serving — similar to that of a cup of green tea, and less than a typical cup of coffee. Derived from the coffee fruit and white tea extract, the caffeine in Bai is designed to give you a “gentle lift.”
But what does this have to do with running?
Research is ongoing into the benefits of antioxidants for runners. As always, studies are conflicting and inconsistent. But they do seem to suggest that runners, especially those who go for long distances, have higher antioxidant needs than the average person.
I’ll let our friends at Running Times Magazine explain it:
Antioxidants protect runners from molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are most commonly seen in the form of free radicals and are produced as a normal part of metabolism. However, research has shown that exercise increases the production of ROS. The theory is that the increased production of ROS may “overwhelm” the ability of the body to maximize its antioxidant defenses. This can lead to cellular damage because of an increase in oxidative stress on the body. This oxidative stress has been linked to muscle damage, fatigue, and a reduction in immune function.
More importantly, what does it taste like?
I’m not normally a fan of energy drinks. They’re usually too sweet and leave behind an unpalatable aftertaste. And don’t even get me started on the ones with all the fake sugar. The Bai we got was Jamaica Blue Berry, which is still a bit too sugary for me (and I’m a sweet tooth), but the sweetness is offset by the berry tartness, making it tastier and easier to quaff than your average energy drink. I’m not sure about its thirst-quenching properties, but it’s perfectly fine as a race treat. (I’m drinking one as I write this, so I guess it’s also fine when you’re sitting on your butt.)
We’re still picking these up when we see them at a run, so I guess you could say we’re sold on Bai. For now anyway.
Oh, and Bai the way, stay tuned for more tales from the “What Hubby bought in bulk” files. Next up, peanut butter!