UW Athletics using Cherry Switchel to help athletes recover

(WKOW) — Switchel is a beverage that’s been around for centuries and now the UW Athletics Department is using a new version of it to help athletes recover after practice and competition.

Switchel is an apple cider vinegar-based beverage known for certain health benefits, which has been around for centuries. With the surge in popularity of innovative beverages, new versions of Switchel are hitting the market. The UW Athletics Department partnered with the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research to create a protein-rich, cherry-flavored variety to use a sports recovery drink for UW’s student-athletes. 

"There’s some science behind apple cider vinegar being good for muscle cramping," said John Dettmann, director of UW Athletics. "There’s also some other ingredients in it: tart cherry juice, whey protein, ginger, some other things that we define as healthy for athletes, not only for recovery but just for human health in general." 

UW’s Athletics Department is continually looking for innovative products to give its athletes better nutrition and has partnered with the Center for Dairy Research on numerous projects. This past year the football team used the Cherry Switchel all season long.

"The new version of Switchel we add dairy ingredients to it, which is whey protein, and also we use Wisconsin tart cherry juice to add the flavor," said Hong Jiang, a research specialist for dairy research.

In recent years, dairy whey protein has been noted for its incredible health benefits.

"It’s a real (sic) valuable source of protein for people. And it’s readily digestible, and it’s good for you. And it’s a by-product in the dairy industry for cheesemaking," said Babcock Dairy Plant Manager, Bill Klein. "And so if we can take advantage of that, that’s, you know, it’s all the better."

"Whey protein, it’s a complete protein. So it contains all the essential amino acids that our body needs to grow," said Hong.

Thanks to the partnership with the Athletics Department and the Center for Dairy Research, and a protein boost from the Wisconsin dairy industry, student-athletes are gaining a healthy edge.

UW Athletics and the Center for Dairy Research have been working on several different healthy snacks for student-athletes. One currently in development is Frozen Fuel, a healthy ice cream fortified with tart cherry juice, and omega three fatty acids for a healthful dairy treat.

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