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Athletes benefit from the therapeutic qualities of cherry juice

Since 2010 Montmorency cherry juice products have increased in popularity among elite athletes and the wider public. They are used to aid muscle recovery after intense exercise, to ease joint pain, and to enhance the quality and quantity of sleep. Consuming Montmorency tart cherry juice is now incorporated into the training regimes of a wide range of professional athletes in the US and UK including Team GB and elite American football and basketball players.

This increase in sales and consumption of tart cherry juice can to be directly attributed to ground-breaking research led by Dr Glyn Howatson at Northumbria University. When the initial work, in 2010, and subsequent research was published it achieved widespread global media coverage.

The findings were shared directly with the UK’s most senior applied sport scientists including the National Director of Science and National Lead Performance Nutritionist, physiologists and recovery specialists at the English Institute of Sport and in Olympic medal winning Team GB sports. As a result these sports used Montmorency cherry products in the run up to the 2012 Olympics and have found a positive benefit in recovering from strenuous competition, heavy periods of training and recovery from injury.

Montmorency tart cherry juice was already known to contain high quantities of phytochemicals that display anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. The research was the first to demonstrate that consuming the juice before and after intense exercise significantly enhanced muscle function recovery in the days following the exercise by increasing antioxidant capacity and a reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

Sleep is an important part of the body’s recovery process and further research revealed that cherry juice helps with this aspect of recovery too. Montmorency tart cherries contain naturally occurring melatonin a hormone which regulates sleep in humans and animals. The research team found that consuming the juice results in a significant rise in melatonin levels for the person taking it and improves sleep quantity and quality by five to six percent.

The juice is now widely used in Premiership football and Rugby Union teams. In the US numerous professional teams also use cherry juice as part of their recovery regime including teams in the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MBL).

 

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