Am I glad that it’s cherry season again!  I have been getting such delicious, organic cherries from Whole Foods lately and it is really helping me recover faster!  That’s right, all those articles we’ve been seeing in the body building magazines about cherries helping the body recover faster are right!  There have been numerous studies lately about cherries helping muscles recover faster, such as the one published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s journal: “Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.” And the one published by the Sports and Exercise Science Research Center in the U.K. —but for me, the proof has been my own personal experience.  I have noticed a dramatic difference between how sore and stiff I am the day after my workout when I do or don’t eat cherries.  Really dramatic! This is a big deal because when I am sore and stiff, I don’t get much done during the day, no matter how much I want to. Sure yoga helps, but sometimes I have to run out the door and don’t have time to do the yoga before I start my day (although I do try to not let this happen too often).  And sometimes I have to take a day off from my workout to recover because I am so sore, because I now know from experience that to keep going when I feel this way makes me more susceptible to catching colds and gives me a general wiped out mental state for days—so it’s just not worth it to push myself when I’m stiff and sore.  Finding ways to feel good every day, even when training really hard is the name of the game.  Having to take time off to recover all the time (or end up overtrained and broken down) is just no good.

The science behind this is that phytochemicals in cherries, known as anthocyanins, help reduce inflammation in the body.   For this reason, cherries are also a wonderful treatment for arthritis, gout and all sorts of pain!

I recommend eating actual cherries rather than drinking the juice (even though several studies have been done with the juice).  This is because fruit juice is high in sugar and calories and devoid of fiber. It is also true that once you juice something that the nutrients begin to die and so if you want the maximum benefit from the nutrients in a fruit or vegetable, either eat it whole or drink the juice immediately after it comes out of the fruit or vegetable.  Since most people cannot juice their own cherries, you’re best off just eating the cherries (or pureeing them in your smoothie).  And why not? They’re delicious and they help fill you up with low calorie fiber!

 

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