May 29, 2009

Cherry juice may be the new sports drink

People who drank tart cherry juice while training for a long distance run reported less pain after exercise than those who didn't, U.S. researchers said.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University studied 60 healthy adults ages 18-50, who drank 10.5 ounces cherry juice -- 100 percent cherry juice -- twice a day for seven days prior to and on the day of a long-distance relay. They reported significantly less muscle pain following the race than those who drank another fruit juice beverage.

The study, published in the American College of Sports Medicine, found that on a scale from 0-10, the runners who drank cherry juice as their sports drink had a 2-point lower self-reported pain level at the completion of the race -- a clinically significant difference.

Principal study investigator Dr. Kerry Kuehl said the early finding indicate cherries may work like common medications used by runners to alleviate post-exercise inflammation.

For most runners, post-race treatment consists of rest, ice, compression and elevation as well as traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, Kuehl said in a statement. But NSAIDS can have adverse effects, negative effects you may be able to avoid by using a natural, whole food alternative, like cherry juice, to reduce muscle inflammation before exercise.

The findings were also presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference in Seattle.