Juicy talk about cherries

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A study published in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine indicates that if you drink cherry juice each day, you can reduce muscle damage caused by exercise. As with most news like this, don't swallow it whole.

Brian Packer of the Cherry Marketing Institute was eager to share the results of the study.

"In fact, researchers suggest that the powerful antioxidant compounds in cherry juice likely decreased oxidative damage to the athletes' muscles - the damage that normally occurs when muscles are worked to their max - allowing the muscles to recover more quickly," Mr. Packer said in a news release.

Betsy O'Neill, head of the Department of Integrated Medicine at Allegheny General Hospital, is skeptical.

There were only 10 people in the study, she noted.

"That's not large enough a sample to draw conclusions for everybody," Dr. O'Neill said.

Cherry juice, she said, "is one of many healthy foods that contains antioxidants, and can be part of a healthy diet."

But, she said, "when people read stuff like this, they think cherry juice is the answer to all their problems. What people really need for a healthy diet is variety."

So if you like cherry juice, drink it, Dr. O'Neill said. But don't neglect other sources of antioxidants, and don't think there is a miracle food or a miracle drug that is the key to good health.


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