Tart Cherries and exercise recovery.
Keeping up with your exercise regimen is a lot easier when you recover quickly after a workout. Montmorency tart cherry juice has been the focus of multiple studies that suggests a beneficial role in exercise recovery.
Positive results have been found with long-distance running, cycling, sprinting, field sports and strength training.
The pain associated with exercise involves muscle damage, inflammation and oxidative stress. Tart cherries seem to help with all three due to the concentrated amounts of anthocyanins inside.
Studies suggest Montmorency tart cherry juice has the ability to reduce muscle pain and weakness after bouts of intense exercise, workout or training.
Endurance exercise performance study
A new meta-analysis of 10 previously published studies published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded that Montmorency tart cherries may have the potential to improve endurance exercise performance.
After pooling research to determine significance, the Canadian researchers found that Montmorency tart cherry concentrate, when consumed in juice or powdered form over a period of seven days to 1.5 hours before cycling, swimming or running, significantly improved endurance exercise performance among participants (ages 18-35 years) who were endurance-trained individuals, totalling 127 males and 20 females.
This meta-analysis is the first to document the significant benefits and the potential mechanism for endurance exercise performance.
Strength training study
In one of the first tart cherry studies on exercise, Montmorency tart cherry juice decreased some symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage.
Researchers gave 14 male college students either 12 ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice or a placebo drink twice a day for 8 days. On day 4, the participants performed strenuous weight lifting. Isometric elbow flexion strength, pain, muscle tenderness, and relaxed elbow angle were recorded before and for 4 days after the exercise.
Self-reported pain and strength loss were significantly less in the tart cherry group; strength loss averaged over the 4 days after the eccentric exercise was 22% with the placebo but only 4% with the tart cherry juice.
Oregon Health and Science University researchers gave 54 healthy male and female runners participating in the annual 199-mile Hood to Coast relay race either Montmorency tart cherry juice (10.5 ounces twice a day) for 7 days before and on the day of the race or a placebo drink.
Participants assessed level of pain using a visual scale at baseline, before the race, and after the race. The tart cherry group reported a significantly smaller increase in muscle pain following the race compared to the placebo group.