Spotlight: Work Hard, Recover Right
Dr. Kevin Rindal
During this particularly busy time of the year, when it is hot out and the workload and physical stress are higher, it is particularly important to make sure that you are creating an environment that allows your body to recover from a strenuous day of work and stay injury free. There are four very important components to ensuring that you maximize your recovery, three of these we have covered in the past:
The fourth component relates to eating foods that help fuel your recovery. There are many foods that give your body the nutrients it needs to repair and heal. However, one food, in particular, crushes the competition when it comes to recovery. It has components that reduce inflammation, swelling, and muscle damage, replenishes electrolytes, boosts your immune system and improves sleep. What is this superfood? Believe it or not, it is the CHERRY! Much of the researched benefits of cherries relate to “tart cherries,” however, many of these same benefits are found in the sweeter varieties that taste great and can be found in the produce aisle of your grocery store (and if not, in a juice concentrate that you can order online).
8 OZ of Tart Cherry Juice Per Day – Non-Concentrated
(example: Cherry Bundi)
2 TBLS of Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate Per Day
(example: Eden Foods Concentrate)
1 Cup of Fresh Cherries Per Day
HOW CHERRIES CAN
Quality Source of Electrolytes
Cherries have a high concentration of electrolytes, especially Potassium, which is very important for proper muscle function. In fact, 1 Cup of Cherries contains about 9% of the recommended daily amount of Potassium. Usually, people think of eating a banana for extra potassium to prevent muscle cramps, especially after being physically active. However, next time, reach for cherries. They taste great, and as mentioned, help fight inflammation and aid in muscle recovery.
Cherries are rich in flavonoids and anthocyanins, both of which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, because of these compounds, the effectiveness of cherries combating inflammation is on par with traditional Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs), but without the harmful side-effects.
Speaking of eating cherries as a bedtime snack, this might be a perfect choice! Several studies have shown that cherry juice is naturally high in Melatonin, a compound produced by the Pineal Gland in our brain. Melatonin is a chemical that is important in regulating our sleep cycles. Consuming raw cherries or cherry juice prior to bedtime has been shown to improve sleep quality and counteract insomnia…. when you sleep better, your body recovers better. Talk about a double benefit!
Reduced Muscle Soreness
Cherries have been shown to decrease soreness, muscle damage and aid in recovery after strenuous exercise. This benefit is not reserved just for athletes, if you have a physically demanding job, eating a cup of cherries or drinking 8 oz of cherry juice as a bedtime snack is a great way to provide your body with a powerful recovery boost.