But did you know that there are also beneficial compounds in Montmorency cherries that could help strengthen your muscles — especially after exercising? That’s right — these special cherries could act as an alternative cure for muscle fatigue and pain.
At least this is the conclusion that researchers at the Sports and Exercise Science Research Centre in London, England, came to when they performed an interesting clinical trial. They recruited 10 well-trained male athletes for the study. The participants were made to fast overnight and then asked to complete two trials of 10 sets of 10 single-leg knee extensions. Trials were separated by two weeks and alternate legs were used in each trial. The participants consumed a cherry supplement or a fruit concentrate for seven days prior to and 48 hours after exercise.
The research team found that recovery was significantly faster in the athletes taking the cherry supplement compared to the fruit concentrate. They concluded that Montmorency cherry juice consumption improved the recovery of muscle strength after intensive exercise. The researchers speculated that the cherry juice did this by stopping the oxidative damage brought on by the damaging exercise.
To get all the benefits of cherries, try some Montmorency juice. High levels of antioxidants are found in both Montmorency and sweet cherries. However, Montmorency cherries offer far more benefits than sweet cherries. Montmorency cherries are very rich sources of anthocyanins; whereas sweet cherries tend to have lower amounts.
Which types of cherries are in the Montmorency family? Montmorency cherries include the Montmorency and Balaton varieties and are produced primarily in Michigan. In general, when you are at the supermarket, keep in mind that the darker the cherry color, the higher the anthocyanin content.
Researchers believe that the pain relief associated with cherries may not come from a specific antioxidant in the cherries, but rather from the synergistic effect of all the natural compounds found in cherries. The skin of the cherries holds most of the essential antioxidants vital to their health benefits.
Montmorency cherries are also one of the only natural food sources of the hormone melatonin, which is a potent antioxidant that can significantly boost your immune system. Melatonin is considered a more potent antioxidant than vitamins C, E and A, because it is soluble in both fat and water.
In addition, Montmorency cherries contain phenolic compounds that protect your brain. Montmorency cherries will also give you a healthy dose of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, and fiber.