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Originally published February 20 2011

Tart cherries help speed muscle recovery

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A new study published in the American College of Sports Medicine journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that eating a small amount of tart cherries helps improve muscle recovery in athletes after an intense workout. The findings add to the growing body of evidence that illustrates the amazing healing power of tart cherries.

Researchers from the Sports and Exercise Science Research Center at London South Bank University in the U.K. administered one-ounce servings of tart cherry juice twice daily to ten trained athletes seven days prior to an intense workout, and two days after it. Another group of athletes was given a different type of juice without tart cherry. Twenty-four hours after the workout, those drinking the tart cherry juice regained 90 percent of their muscle function, while the control group regained only 85 percent of muscle function.

The powerful antioxidant compounds in cherries are believed to be the nutrient of benefit in this case, as oxidative damage to muscles is reduced in their presence. As a result, muscles are able to recover more quickly.

"Cherries are what I call an ultimate super food," said Dr. Wendy Bazilian, Ph.D., a registered dietician and author of the book The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients, concerning the study. "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."

A peer-reviewed study put out by Michigan State University in 2008 identified a compound in tart cherries that helps naturally relieve pain better than over-the-counter pain drugs like aspirin ( Tart cherries are also known to help with sleep, reduce fat, treat gout, and even fight cancer (

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