BIOACTIVE PROPERTIES OF TART CHERRY
Athletes experience EIMD from inflammation and increased oxidative stress—the cellular damage caused by free radicals produced by strenuous exercise. The skin of tart cherry contains the phytochemical anthocyanin, an anti-inflammatory and the same enzyme used in pain relievers (i.e., Ibuprofen). Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that alleviate EIMD, which helps accelerate recovery.
Anthocyanins combat the enzymes that cause inflammation from strenuous exercise. In fact, the anthocyanin antioxidant capability has demonstrated to be 100 times more powerful than glutathione (van Acker, Tromp, Haenen, van Der Vijgh, & Bast, 1995). Glutathione is an antioxidant produced by the body and is possibly the most important antioxidant because it is found in every cell in the body. A food that contains phytochemicals with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties is ideal (G Howatson et al., 2010)—hence, the tart cherry.
Some athletes may drink tart cherry after exercise. Yet, the efficacy of tart cherry does not start post-exercise. The studies reporting quicker muscle function recovery used tart cherry juice leading up to athletic events.
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