Healthy living

Running in the London Marathon? Try cherry juice

cherry juice can aid recovery from exercise Scientist claims it aids recovery

If you are planning to run in this month's (April 2010) London Marathon, then you should consider drinking cherry juice to speed your recovery, according to research by a UK scientist.

Dr Glyn Howatson of Northumbria University's School of Psychology and Sports Sciences, studied 20 runners in last year's marathon for 5 days before the race and two days after it. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups, the first being given cherry juice to drink twice a day and the remainder a non-cherry based drink.

The study found that the group that drank the cherry juice recovered their strength more rapidly than the control group over the 48-hour period following the marathon. Even better, two potentially damaging responses to strenuous activity, inflammation and oxidative stress, were also reduced in the cherry drinking group.

Howatson suggests that the juice, made from Montmorency cherries, may be increasing total antioxidative capacity as well as reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

He pointed out that "...participating in long-distance endurance events, such as the London Marathon, causes a degree of muscle damage and inflammation for the runners. It takes several days to recover and during that period the runner’s ability to conduct physical activity can be vastly inhibited."

He went on to suggest that role of the cherry juice in aiding recovery could be due to "phytochemicals, in particular, anthocyanins found in Montmorency cherries have anti-inflammatory and antioxidating properties, which the research has shown to be effective in helping exercisers to recover from strenuous physical activity."

These results suggest that cherry juice could play a part in the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, and he called for further funding for this work - "If funding can be secured to embark on a further study, we can determine whether the use of tart cherry juice has implications for the management of some clinical pathologies that display high levels of inflammation and oxidative stress, such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia."

This article was published on Tue 6 April 2010



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