Saturday, May 28, 2011

Post-Workout Nutrition: Cherries and recovery

Adequate post workout nutrition is essential to the recovery of our muscles after enduring intense stress during exercise. During exercise your muscles take in a source of energy to generate momentum. With that said think of our muscles acting as electric motors. These motors act biochemically by using a chemical energy source in the body called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). During the process of "burning" ATP for energy your muscles need three things:
  • Oxygen, because chemical reactions require ATP and oxygen is consumed to produce the ATP
  • Elimination of metabolic wastes (carbon dioxide, lactic acid) that are produced in these reactions
  • Elimination of heat that is a by product of working muscle
Now you see the reasoning behind adequate replenishment of energy and recovery due to the bodies inflammatory response post-exercise. There are any essential foods with vital nutrients to aid in the recovery process but one in particular is cherries and cherry juice. These super fruits aid in muscle recovery and reduction of their damage. What makes them so powerful? Their load of antioxidants they are made of especially one in particular, anthocyanins. Typically muscle damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress is seen in long distance and marathon runners. Researches have studied these effects on marathon runners. One study took a group of marathon runners supplied them with adequate concentrations of cherry juice and measured muscle strength and oxidative stress levels. Markers of muscle damage showed that the group given cherry juice had rapid recovery of knee extension strength compared to that of a placebo group. As far as oxidative stresses the cherry juice group had an increased total antioxidant capacity which in turn decrease these stresses.
So next time you work out try drinking some cherry juice, adding some cherries in your protein shake, or even top off your Greek yogurt with a few and take advantage of the beneficial properties cherries have.

Have a happy healthy day!

Krystal Goodman

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