Runners in the London marathon should drink cherry juice to recover after the race, scientists have suggested.
In a study, runners who drank tart cherry juice before and after the race recovered better than those taking a dummy drink.
It is thought the antioxidant vitamins, called anthocyanins, in the juice helps the body to resist damage and repair itself, reported telegraph.co.uk
Glyn Howatson, exercise physiologist and laboratory director in the School of Psychology and Sports Sciences, Northumbria University, examined the properties of Montmorency cherries in 20 athletes who ran a marathon.
The runners drank either the cherry juice or a placebo drink twice a day for five days before the race and two days afterwards.
The experts found the runners taking cherry juice recovered their strength faster in the 48-hours following the race.
'Participating in long-distance endurance events, such as a marathon, causes a degree of muscle damage and inflammation for the runners. It takes several days to recover and during that period the runner's ability to conduct physical activity can be vastly inhibited,' said Howatson.
'The phytochemicals, in particular, anthocyanins found in Montmorency cherries have anti-inflammatory and antioxidating properties, which the research has shown to be effective in helping exercises to recover from strenuous physical activity,' he added.
He suggested the findings could also be relevant for people with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.