Tart cherries could speed muscle recovery (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)
A new research by scientists in the UK has found that tart cherries could help athletes reduce muscle damage to recover faster from a tough workout.
Researchers at the Sports and Exercise Science Research Center at London South Bank University in the UK gave 10 trained athletes 1 ounce of an antioxidant-packed tart cherry juice concentrate (provided by CherryActive) twice daily for seven days prior to and two days after an intense round of strength training.
The athletes’ recovery after the cherry juice concentrate was significantly faster compared to when they drank juice without the same phytonutrient content of cherry juice.
After drinking cherry juice, athletes returned to 90 per cent of normal muscle force at 24 hours, compared to only 85 per cent of normal at the same time point without cherry juice – a significant difference that could affect an athlete’s next bout of performance.
Researchers suggest that the powerful antioxidant compounds in cherry juice likely decreased oxidative damage to the athletes’ muscles – the damage that normally occurs when muscles are worked to their max – allowing the muscles to recover more quickly.
This is the latest in a growing body of science linking cherries to muscle recovery.
Researchers attribute the benefits to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds in the red fruit called anthocyanins, also responsible for cherries’ bright red colour.
The study has been published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise .