If you want to recover with a tasty treat after your next workout, the best option may be one you never even considered. It's been around for years; it's easy to find; and it's been shown to enhance recovery in athletes. No, it's not a fancy (and expensive) energy bar or drink concoction—it's tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice (and cherries in general) has an abundance of positive attributes when it comes to our overall health.
A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine found that tart cherry juice increased total anti-oxidative capacity, reduced inflammation and aided in muscle recovery for marathon runners. But all athletes can benefit from enhanced muscle recovery. Another study, in the Journal of Nutrition, found that cherries helped to reduce symptoms of gout by inhibiting inflammation pathways.
Stay away from sugary and saturated fat-laden options. They will not help you recover after a tough workout. Instead, make your own wonder drink by blending a recovery smoothie with one cup of cherry juice, a half cup of plain nonfat yogurt, one apple and one teaspoon of chia seeds.
Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, is a Wellness Manager and Nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Department of Disease Reversal, where she oversees the nutrition component of the Cleveland Clinic's Lifestyle 180 program. Kirkpatrick presents nationally on a variety of nutrition and wellness-related topics; is a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show; and also writes for The Huffington Post, DrOz.com and 360-5.com.
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