31 May 2019
By Nick Littlehales
Montmorency Tart Cherries are extremely effective in improving muscle recovery and sleep, which is beneficial for athletes looking to maximise their performance.
Some athletes already know the benefits of this product regarding sport endurance as most have been advised by coaches to include the fruit into their diets. However, not everybody is aware of the health benefits.
For all athletes, recovery is vital, and maximising muscle recovery gives them the ability to maintain a good physical health whilst training.
Recovery during sleep is also very important for athletes. Poor sleep can have an impact on not only their mental recovery but also physical recovery, which could be the difference between finishing first or second!
Montmorency Tart Cherries are closely related to the sweet cherry you would find in your supermarket, but the Tart Cherry is very different. They are more acidic and have greater nutritional benefits. Almost all Tart Cherries are grown in the U.S and harvested in the summer months. You probably won’t come across them fresh unless you live in one of the growing regions. However, the cherries are available all year round, dried, frozen, juiced or in supplements. Montmorency Cherries have a unique sour-sweet flavour that is increasing in popularity, for both the flavour and the amazing health benefits.
The cherries contain high levels of substances known as Polyphenols (Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging) these include flavonoids and anthocyanins, which are known to have anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. Recent studies have found evidence for Tart Cherry Juice preventing the symptoms of exercise induced muscle damage. Strength loss and pain were also both found to have improved after consuming the cherries. One research article studied an athlete training intensely for a week by running every day and doing several additional work outs. He drank one tablespoon of Tart Cherries concentrate twice a day, once in the morning and once immediately post-run. The experiment aimed to put the athlete through a training week that would normally create soreness and fatigue. It was then possible to assess whether Montmorency Tart Cherries aided his recovery.
After the experiment the athlete stated – “I never felt any muscle soreness. Not once.” And also “The big surprise: a nagging shoulder injury I’ve had for months improved dramatically, and last Thursday night was the first night in a long time that I slept through the night without any shoulder pain whatsoever.” The research can be found here.
Sleep is something that is crucial to athletes and their recovery. The cherries naturally produce high levels of melatonin which is a hormone made by the pineal gland that controls your sleep and wake cycles. Light affects how much melatonin your body produces. During the shorter days of the winter months, your body may produce melatonin either earlier or later in the day than usual. This change can lead to symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter depression. Natural melatonin levels slowly drop with age. So making sure you get melatonin into your system is beneficial for everyone, not just athletes!
Including the cherries into your daily diet might sound easy, but it is incredibly hard to get your hands on them. If you are lucky enough to live in the regions that grow the cherries, then there are hundreds of ways to pack them into your diet. From baking pies to adding them to your fresh smoothies and juices.
But for those who may struggle to find fresh cherries, you can add them into your diet through supplements. Performance Lab sell a supplement called Sleep, the capsules are a convenient, fast and portable way of getting Montmorency cherries into your daily diet. You can find them here.
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