Newcastle, UK—Drinking Montmorency tart cherry concentrate before a workout may lower levels of post-exercise inflammation and oxidative stress, according to a recent study out of Northumbria University, based here.

Studies have shown antioxidants to be useful in aiding recovery after strenuous exercise. Montmorency tart cherries contain high levels of anthocyanins, an antioxidant that may inhibit inflammatory enzymes.

Researchers gave 16 trained male cyclists either 30 mL tart cherry concentrate or a placebo with the same amount of calories twice a day for seven days. On the final three days, the cyclists completed a simulated, strenuous 109-minute cycling trial. Levels of oxidative stress and inflammation were taken during cycling days pre- and post-workout.

Results showed the levels of inflammation were significantly lower in the participants who took the tart cherry concentrate; their oxidative stress levels were nearly 30% lower than those in the placebo group.

Research lead Glyn Howatson, Ph.D., laboratory director at the department of sport, exercise and rehabilitation at Northumbria University, explains that oxidative stress can cause muscle soreness, muscle damage and a longer recovery time following intense exercise. He attributes the recovery benefits shown in the study to the natural compounds found in the Montmorency tart cherry concentrate, including anthocyanins.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2014