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Sweet or tart cherries are a mouth-watering snack or dessert topping. The colorful fruit is low in calories and packs a nutritious punch. Phenolic anti-oxidant compounds give them their rich color, taste, and potency. Some research even shows that cherries rank above blueberries and strawberries when it comes to antioxidant power. Though most people assume fruit has some nutritive value, it might come as a surprise just how many benefits cherries offer.

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1. Exercise Performance and Recovery

The ability of cherries to improve your workout and recovery are two good reasons to add them to your pre- and post-exercise shakes and smoothies. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, male and female endurance athletes and triathletes ingested capsules with tart cherry powder before and after races. More than 10 percent of those athletes had faster racing times, less muscle soreness, and fewer catabolic markers such as blood urea nitrogen, which are waste products created by protein breakdown.

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