Working out can be a pain—literally. Despite the many reasons why working out is good for our bodies and minds, sometimes the discomfort after a workout can leave us unmotivated to work out for days. While we are told by trainers and coaches to push through the slight pains we feel when working out, everyone knows that if something is really hurting, then it’s time to rest. Even though resting, stretching, and working out in moderation are likely to help muscles heal, sometimes we need a boost from nature. It is thought that cherry juice can help quicken muscle recovery, but is it true?
SEE ALSO 10 Cherry Inspired Recipes
A 2010 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports studied the effects of cherry juice on runners as a way to “reduce muscle damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress,” as stated on the national library of medicine, PubMed. The study followed twenty “marathon runners [and] assigned [the runners] to either consume cherry juice or placebo for 5 days before, the day of, and for 48 [hours] following a marathon run,” PubMed states. The study found that “cherry juice appears to provide a viable means to aid recovering following strenuous exercise by increasing total antioxidative capacity, reducing inflammation, lipid peroxidation, and so aiding in the recovery of muscle function,” PubMed explains.
Another 2010 study published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in studied “fifty-four healthy runners [who] ran an average of [16.3 to 1.5 miles] over a 24 hour period,” as stated on PubMed. These runners “ingested a 355 mL bottles of tart cherry juice or placebo cherry drink twice daily for 7 days prior to the events and on the day of the race,” PubMed further explains. So, was cherry juice an effective pain reducer? According to PubMed, drinking cherry juice proves to be an effective way to help reduce muscle pain; as the study states, “While both groups reported increased pain after the race, the cherry juice group reported a significantly smaller increase in pain.”
SEE ALSO Fave Things: Workout Recovery Tools
One important fact to keep in mind is that tart cherry juice and black cherry juice are different. While the first study doesn’t state which kind of juice they use, the second study mentioned used tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice has “significantly higher concentrations [of anthocyanins] than sweet black cherries,” as stated on health and fitness website, LiveStrong. LiveStrong explains that “Anthocyanins are a phenol compound found in cherries that give them their color,” and are also responsible for helping with any muscle swelling; therefore, tart cherry juice may be more likely to reduce any muscle pains.
Verdict: Fact. Mother Nature was looking out for her athletes because cherry juice has been proven to be an effective way to decrease muscle pain as well as help quicken recovery. ChooseCherries, a website dedicated to providing information about tart cherries, gives suggestions on how much tart cherry juice should be drunk in order to be effective. ChooseCherries says “most of the […] studies have provided participants with two 8-or 12-ounce bottles of tart cherry juice per day.” It is also suggested to “Drink an additional glass within 30 minutes after workouts,” according to ChooseCherries.
For more on Fitness, check out our features here.
What do you use for muscle recovery?