Daily Cherry Juice Reduces Muscle Damage Caused by Exercise


muclesTart cherries may play a role in reducing muscle damage caused by exercise, helping athletes to recover more quickly after vigorous workouts.

New research published in the American College of Medicine's journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise adds to the existing body of scientific evidence linking cherries to muscle recovery.

Researchers credit the benefits to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds in the cherries, called anthocyanins, that give the fruit its bright red color.

Besides muscle-recovery, research also indicates that cherries may affect the inflammation associated with heart disease and arthritis.

The research was conducted at the Sports and Exercise Science Research Center at London South Bank University in the UK. Trained athletes were given one ounce of an antioxidant-packed tart cherry juice concentrate twice a day for seven days prior to, and two days after a vigorous strength training session.

Participants recovered more quickly compared to when they drank juice lacking the phytonutrient content of the cherry juice. After 24 hours, athletes who drank the cherry juice returned to 90 percent of normal muscle force. Without cherry juice, the athletes returned to 85 percent of normal after 24 hours – a difference great enough to affect their next athletic performance.

Overly-strenuous workouts can damage an athlete's muscles. Researchers believe the antioxidant compounds in cherry juice decrease the oxidative damage.

"Cherries are what I call an ultimate super food," said Dr. Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, registered dietitian and author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients. "Not only are they a perfect complement to a training routine since they're available year-round in dried, frozen and juice forms, but they taste great."

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