Take a cue from pro surfer Laird Hamilton and blend cherry juice into your smoothie: Juice from Montmorency cherries helps your muscles recover more quickly after a tough strength-training session, finds a study in Medicine Science in Sports Exercise
In the study, 10 men downed an ounce of CherryActive cherry juice twice a day, then did a lower-body workout designed to cause fatigue and soreness. Within 24 hours, their muscles bounced back to 91 percent of their original strength.
This compares with 85 percent recovery when they drank a placebo (a beverage made from fruit concentrate that had the same number of calories). Not a huge difference, sure, but still enough improvement to make a difference in performance, notes lead author Joanna Bowtell, Ph.D., of London South Bank University’s Academy of Sport.
What’s more, the new research found fewer markers of muscle damage circulating in the blood after drinking cherry juice, suggesting that the compounds actually prevent maxed-out muscles from breaking down to begin with.
The red superfoods are packed with chemicals called anthocyanins, which soothe inflammation—one reason drinking cherry juice daily for one week before a race has also been shown to stifle runners’ post-marathon pain.
To try it for yourself, take a big swig swig before training to soothe soreness and speed recovery, Bowtell recommends. Or, you can stick to other supplements shown to improve recovery, including glutamine and vitamins C and E.