17th annual ECSS Congress Bruges/BEL, July 4-7 2012

Bowtell, J.
Exeter University

Cherries and berries and other fruits and vegetables are rich in a variety of phytochemicals such as flavonoids and anthocyanins. These biologically active compounds may underpin the reductions in clinical condition and mortality risk associated with fruit and vegetable consumption that is evident from epidemiological studies. For instance, the health benefits associated with consumption of the Mediterranean diet may at least in part rely upon the flavonoid content of dietary components such as olive oil, red wine, and tomatoes. Many of the phytochemicals including flavonoids and flavonols are vasoactive inducing vasodilatation via a nitric oxide dependent mechanism, and epidemiological evidence suggests that high dietary anthocyanin intakes reduce the relative risk for hypertension.
Cherries, in particular sour or montmorency cherries, which are rich in anthocyanins also possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Consumption of montmorency cherry juice prior to and following intensive exercise has consistently been shown to enhance the acute recovery of muscle function most likely through reduced oxidative damage and inflammation. Similar evidence is also emerging for other fruits and berries such as blueberries and pomegranate. The usefulness of chronic supplementation to support training adaptation, however, remains uncertain; although evidence from rodent studies is tantalisingly positive. Phytochemicals provided by Mother Earth offer great potential as key nutraceuticals of the future.

Keywords: polyphenols, oxidative damage, recovery

European Database of Sport Science (EDSS)

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