AW promotion: New research highlights how the nutrient-packed fruit can be a potent weapon in your training armoury

In recent years, U.S. Montmorency Cherries have attracted an increasing amount of attention concerning their many potential health benefits.

A considerable number of academic studies have been undertaken, with the majority concluding that this bright red, tart tasting and nutrient-dense fruit does indeed make a difference when it comes to sport and exercise.

In a bid to fully understand the bigger picture, however, research teams from both Northumbria University and St Mary’s University recently produced what is known as a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, which essentially means that they assessed all studies which met a set criteria to come up with an overall conclusion.

The findings have just been published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism and are unequivocal – you really can put a cherry on top of your training.

The evidence would suggest that U.S. Montmorency Cherries can be a potent weapon in your nutritional armoury. In previous posts we have examined how they can speed up recovery and boost your power. Here, we take a closer look at how the cherries can help an athlete when it comes to improving sleep quality.

“You drop off to sleep quicker, you don’t wake up so frequently and you should feel better. The idea then is that you can regenerate that bit better and recover at an accelerated rate”

“We did a study where we got people to take cherries for a few days and then looked at their sleep over a two-day cycle,” says Professor Glyn Howatson of Northumbria University, one of the authors of the review. “Their sleep efficiency improved by about five and a half to six per cent.

“That doesn’t sound like a lot but, when you’re talking about sleep quality, which is expressed as a percentage, it is actually quite a large proportion.”

There was more, however. Those subjects who had taken cherries dropped off to sleep earlier than those who hadn’t, while there was another key finding around WASO (wake after sleep onset).

“During the night, even though you think you’ve slept the whole time, people wake up on numerous occasions and don’t know anything about it,” says Professor Howatson.

“Taking cherries, however, showed that happens less during the night and, as a result of that, you get an improved sleep index.

“You drop off to sleep quicker, you don’t wake up so frequently and you should feel better. The idea then is that you can regenerate that bit better and recover at an accelerated rate.”

There seem to be few downsides to giving U.S. Montmorency Cherries a try. As Professor Howatson adds: “It may or may not work for individual people but at the very best you can expect to get some improvements in your recovery and, at the worst, you will have an extra portion of fruit and vegetables.

“Tart Montmorency cherries are absolutely crammed full of goodies. You are getting a really high quality fruit in your diet you probably wouldn’t have otherwise had.

“It’s so easy to take and to include in your diet. You can put it in a yoghurt, you can put it on cereal or make smoothies with it – there’s all sorts of ways in which you can consume it.”

» For more information on the benefits of Montmorency Cherries and recipe ideas on how to help include in your diet, visit:

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