Coconut water handles the hydration and electrolyte replacement end of Mother Nature's line of sports drinks and it appears that tart cherry juice handles the post-run anti-inflammatory department. This isn't brand-new news. Tart cherry juice has been lauded for many years as a natural remedy for pain-relief, but now there's some science to back up the claims.
Oregon Health and Science University gathered two comparable groups of runners both ranging in ages from 18-50. Members of one group drank 10.5oz of tart cherry juice each day for two weeks and the other group drank the same amount of an artificial fruit drink. Then each group participated in a long-distance relay.
The results? The tart cherry group had a 23% lower self-reported pain level after the race than the artificial fruit juice group. Dr. Kerry Kuehl, the sports-medicine specialist at Oregon Health & Science University says that this may suggest that the tart cherry juice works like a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) kind of like Ibuprofen. The upside to this is that using a natural anti-inflammatory like the tart cherry juice may help you avoid some of the bad side effects that result from some NSAIDs. Kuehl said that the anti-inflammatory benefits of tart cherry juice may also benefit non-runners too, such as women with fibromyalgia and he's hopeful that it may benefit people with arthritis as well.
This doesn't mean you have to chunk your sports drinks, as more research is needed, but if you're looking for a more natural way to support your training needs, you may want to check into 100% coconut water for your hydration needs and tart cherry juice for your post-workout anti-inflammatory needs. Thanks Mother Nature!