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Cherries help marathoners snub the sniffles

Cherries help marathoners fight post-race sniffles, suggests pilot study.

Missing toenails and an oversize sneaker bill aren’t the only problems marathon runners face. After the finish line, they often develop colds. Cherry juice may help, according to a new pilot study.

Previous research suggested that Montmorency tart cherries reduced the toll a simulated three-day race took on cyclists, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. This new study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and noted on, focused on marathon runners.

Researchers in the U.K. studied runners right after a marathon, some were given Montmorency tart cherry juice after the race, others were not. They found that 50-percent of the placebo group suffered from upper respiratory tract symptoms. The group who drank the juice had lower markers for inflammation 24 and 48 hours after the marathon and had no reported incidences of upper respiratory tract symptoms.

“Many athletes can suffer from colds and sore throats following strenuous bouts of exercise, like marathon running and triathlons,” lead researcher Glyn Howatson of Northumbria University, told “This is the first study to provide encouraging evidence of the potential role of Montmorency tart cherries in reducing symptoms associated with the development of exercise-induced respiratory problems. We should be looking at all the potential ways we can help athletes recover from strenuous exercise, and protection of the respiratory system is another dimension.”

Not tempted to run a marathon? You can still enjoy the benefits of cherries if the your only marathon is “Orange Is the New Black.” A trifecta of cherry studies suggested the melatonin-packed fruit may help people who suffer from sleep disorders.

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