Tart fruit juice (such as cherry and pomegranate) has one been touted as a magical tonic to ease muscle soreness either before or after a hefty workout.
New scientific research suggests though that there really isn't much mojo behind this juice myth.
A recent study appearing in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews conducted trials on 1,089 participants who were given antioxidants as well as a mix of placebos both before and after exercise. Antioxidants consumed (in powder, tablet, and concentrate form) included:
- Cherry juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements
- Black tea extract
Results showed that participants reported no meaningful difference in muscle pain with the antioxidant use. Some even noted mild gastrointestinal irritation associated with it.
While there are benefits to a diet rich in antioxidants, mainly the prevention of signs of aging, certain cancers, macular degeneration, and some arthritis-related conditions, it is suggested that easing muscle pain is not one of them. If you are looking to up the antioxidants in your diet, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) recommends fruits and vegetables as the best source.
To prevent muscle aches and cramps, experts say to simply stretch and warm up properly before a big workout, as well as gradually increasing intensity if trying something new.
Fueling up beforehand with a good mix of carbs, protein, and liquids for hydration is also important in protecting the body.
Remember to stretch and wind down afterwards also. Pain that follows heavy exertion can be treated with heat or ice therapy, and over-the-counter pain medication as needed.
If you experience any chronic, or extreme, muscle pain or frequent cramping with your workouts, please contact us for an appointment.
(Courtesy of The New York Times-Well)