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Berry good news

May 13, 2010

Did you know that fruits such as blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, red currants, cherries and purple grapes might help you recover faster from the muscle soreness of working out?

What these fruits have in common are anthocyanins–plant nutrients that have been shown to guard against oxidative damage and inflammation. 

Within recent months, two additional studies have echoed these findings. A study reported online in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition this month showed that runners who drank a tart cherry juice had significantly less muscle pain following a long-distance run. 

And another investigation reported in the October 2009 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports suggests that the anthocyanins in tart cherry juice help guard against oxidation and inflammation following a marathon.

What’s most exciting to me is the possibility that the antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties of anthocyanins may protect you and me not just against exercise-induced damage, but against the cellular damage that’s a factor in many types of chronic disease, including cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

So should you run out and stock up on tart cherry juice?

Why not enjoy a variety of anthocyanin-rich fruits?

As always, research is ongoing. Other fruits containing anthocyanins have demonstrated additional health-protective effects (such as blueberries, which may protect you from cognitive decine and dementia).

Many berries are in season now. (Buy organic, since they’re heavily sprayed with pesticides.) You can also stock up on organic berries and cherries and toss them in smoothies or shakes.

I regularly enjoy sipping on a cranberry juice spritzer, as I’ve mentioned before. (Mix a little unsweetened cranberry juice or cranberry juice concentrate into either sparkling water or seltzer, and then add a bit of stevia to taste. Very refreshing!)

Flick photos at top, mccun934 and wijew

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