Tart Cherries and Marathons

Tart cherries give runners tasty road to recovery

Powerful antioxidants protect cells, By Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel

December 16, 2009

 Preparing for the winter marathon season means logging a lot of long runs. It can also lead to a lot of soreness. A recent study suggests a tasty way to alleviate some of the pain in the joints and muscles from all those miles -- tart cherries.

A diet strategy known as the Red Recovery Routine was developed by sports dietician Leslie Bonci to help athletes minimize pain. It focuses on a variety of red foods, but cherries stand out because they contain notable anti-inflammatory benefits.

A study by Oregon Health and Sciences University found that runners who drank cherry juice twice a day for seven days leading up to a long-distance race significantly reduced the amount of pain they experienced after the race.

Some prominent athletes have given a thumbs-up to the benefits of tart cherries for reducing soreness, including decathlete Bryan Clay.

Lisa Dorfman, marathon runner and sports nutritionist for the University of Miami, concurs.

"You're always skeptical, but there's been a lot of research from well-respected universities, and a lot of football programs are now using tart cherry juice in recovery for their athletes," Dorfman said.

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