Researchers found that polyphenols (i.e., beetroot juice, tart cherry) were found to have moderate to low performance-improving effects. The study did not find that polyphenols reduced direct markers of muscle damage
TART CHERRY JUICE VS. BEET JUICE FOR RECOVERY SUMMARY
- Beet juice and tart cherry juice benefits include feelings of less muscle soreness.
- Researchers found that polyphenols (i.e., beet juice, tart cherry) were found to have moderate to low performance-improving effects.
- The study did not find that polyphenols reduced direct markers of muscle damage.
Recovery is something that all athletes, bodybuilders, and weightlifters are interested in improving. Being able to recuperate faster means getting back in the gym faster. Numerous nutrients and functional foods, such as grape juice, beet juice, green tea extract, etc., have been associated with improved recovery from resistance exercise. (Owens et al., 2019) The main ingredients that have received the bulk of the attention are polyphenols.
Polyphenols are a group of compounds found in many plant foods that include flavonoids, phenolic acids, lignans, and stilbenes. Phenolic acids and flavonoids are the most common in the human diet, with main sources including fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, tea, coffee, red wine, cereals, and chocolate. (Kashi et al., 2019) Polyphenols have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, enabling an earlier return of muscle strength after muscle damage.
A previous study found that polyphenol supplementation leads to a moderate improvement in performance with no adverse effects. (Somerville et al., 2017) Grape juice (i.e., welch grape juice), beetroot juice and beetroot juice powder, tart cherry juice (i.e., organic tart cherry juice, Cheribundi tart cherry juice), and green tea extract are commonly consumed supplements and beverages consumed to enhance recovery.
Purple grape juices are often consumed for their high anti-oxidant properties. There are limited studies on drinking grape juice, but one study found that grape juice, but not orange or grapefruit juice, was able to reduce platelets. (Keevil et al., 2000) High platelets have been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular risks. Grape juice benefits include improved blood flow and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. (Blumberg et al., 2015; Keevil et al., 2000)
Beetroot juice contains a high nitrate content, increasing nitric oxide and improving performance and heart health. Many athletes drink beetroot juice for the beneficial effects of increased blood flow (i.e., widening of the blood vessels) and improved athletic performance. The benefits of beetroot juice are lower blood pressure, improved power, and reduced muscle soreness. (Benjamim et al., 2022; Coggan et al., 2021; Rojano-Ortega et al., 2022) Many athletes will combine beet juice with apples, cucumber, and ginger in their beet juice recipes.
Tart Cherry Juice
Cherries are a rich source of dietary intakes of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Many studies will use a tart cherry juice concentrate for a more concentrated form of tart cherry than juice. Tart cherry juice benefits include improved recovery from both prolonged aerobic and resistance exercise. (Gao & Chilibeck, 2020; Hill et al., 2021) Many people have advocated tart cherry juice benefits include falling asleep faster; however, only a few studies have found improved sleep quality from tart cherry. (Chung et al., 2022; Losso et al., 2018)
Green Tea Extract
The inclusion of Green tea extract (with epigallocatechin gallate EGCG) is commonly found in many anti-oxidant formulas. Green tea extract fat burners with caffeine are widely promoted. It benefits have been shown to improve health and body composition, but the contents of green tea extracts vary among brands. (Asbaghi et al., 2021)
WHICH IS THE BEST FOR RECOVERY: TART CHERRY JUICE VS BEET JUICE?
Researchers examined the effect of different polyphenols in 209 team sports. Five studies used tart cherry juice as the polyphenol supplement, 2 used green tea extract, 1 used beet juice, 1 used grape juice, 1 used jamelon nectar, and 1 study used chokeberry juice.
In each study, the researchers compared the polyphenol supplement to a placebo. They examined markers of muscle damage, performance, sprint speed, maximal power, etc. After analyzing the data from all the studies, they discovered that polyphenols (such as beet juice and tart cherry) exhibited moderate to low performance-improving effects.
Despite improving performance, they did not find that any polyphenol supplements could reduce muscle damage. (Sánchez Díaz et al., 2022) Furthermore, this means that you may feel less sore once you damage muscle during exercise, but these drinks won’t directly improve muscle recovery. Most studies favoring recovery have focused on tart cherry juice and beet juice. It may be useful to use a combination of beet and tart cherry juice for optimal performance. No study has looked at combining the two yet.
In conclusion, beet juice and tart cherry juice benefits symptoms of muscle damage, however you should never use excessive amounts of anti-oxidants and polyphenols. Excessive anti-oxidants can have side effects such as reduced muscle growth, so moderation is the key.
Asbaghi, O., Fouladvand, F., Gonzalez, M. J., Aghamohammadi, V., Choghakhori, R., & Abbasnezhad, A. (2021). Effect of Green Tea on Anthropometric Indices and Body Composition in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Complement Med Res, 28(3), 244-251. https://doi.org/10.1159/000511665 (Effekt von grünem Tee auf anthropometrische Indizes und die Körperzusammensetzung bei Patienten mit Diabetes mellitus Typ 2: eine systematische Übersicht und Metaanalyse.)
Benjamim, C. J. R., Porto, A. A., Valenti, V. E., Sobrinho, A., Garner, D. M., Gualano, B., & Bueno Júnior, C. R. (2022). Nitrate Derived From Beetroot Juice Lowers Blood Pressure in Patients With Arterial Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Nutr, 9, 823039. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.823039
Blumberg, J. B., Vita, J. A., & Chen, C. Y. O. (2015). Concord Grape Juice Polyphenols and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Dose-Response Relationships. Nutrients, 7(12), 10032-10052. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7125519
Chung, J., Choi, M., & Lee, K. (2022). Effects of Short-Term Intake of Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice on Sleep Quality after Intermittent Exercise in Elite Female Field Hockey Players: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 19(16). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191610272
Coggan, A. R., Baranauskas, M. N., Hinrichs, R. J., Liu, Z., & Carter, S. J. (2021). Effect of dietary nitrate on human muscle power: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 18(1), 66. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-021-00463-z
Gao, R., & Chilibeck, P. D. (2020). Effect of Tart Cherry Concentrate on Endurance Exercise Performance: A Meta-analysis. J Am Coll Nutr, 39(7), 657-664. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2020.1713246
Hill, J. A., Keane, K. M., Quinlan, R., & Howatson, G. (2021). Tart Cherry Supplementation and Recovery From Strenuous Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 31(2), 154-167. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2020-0145
Kashi, D. S., Shabir, A., Da Boit, M., Bailey, S. J., & Higgins, M. F. (2019). The Efficacy of Administering Fruit-Derived Polyphenols to Improve Health Biomarkers, Exercise Performance, and Related Physiological Responses. Nutrients, 11(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102389
Keevil, J. G., Osman, H. E., Reed, J. D., & Folts, J. D. (2000). Grape juice, but not orange juice or grapefruit juice, inhibits human platelet aggregation. J Nutr, 130(1), 53-56. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/130.1.53
Losso, J. N., Finley, J. W., Karki, N., Liu, A. G., Prudente, A., Tipton, R., Yu, Y., & Greenway, F. L. (2018). Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms. Am J Ther, 25(2), e194-e201. https://doi.org/10.1097/mjt.0000000000000584
Owens, D. J., Twist, C., Cobley, J. N., Howatson, G., & Close, G. L. (2019). Exercise-induced muscle damage: What is it, what causes it and what are the nutritional solutions? European Journal of Sport Science, 19(1), 71-85. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2018.1505957
Rojano-Ortega, D., Peña Amaro, J., Berral-Aguilar, A. J., & Berral-de la Rosa, F. J. (2022). Effects of Beetroot Supplementation on Recovery After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage: A Systematic Review. Sports Health, 14(4), 556-565. https://doi.org/10.1177/19417381211036412
Sánchez Díaz, M., Martín-Castellanos, A., Fernández-Elías, V. E., López Torres, O., & Lorenzo Calvo, J. (2022). Effects of Polyphenol Consumption on Recovery in Team Sport Athletes of Both Sexes: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 14(19), 4085. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/19/4085
Somerville, V., Bringans, C., & Braakhuis, A. (2017). Polyphenols and Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 47(8), 1589-1599. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0675-5