Cherries contain high levels of polyphenolic compounds including flavonoids and anthocyanins that confer anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Joanna Bowtell, from the Sports and Exercise Science Research Centre at London South Bank University (United Kingdom), and colleagues studied 10 well-trained men who consumed either a cherry juice, or the isoenergetic fruit concentrate beverage (control drink), for one week before and for two days after a series of single leg knee extensions. Researchers observed that the knee extension maximum voluntary contractions (MVC), a measure of muscle function, recovered significantly faster following consumption of the cherry juice, as compared with the control drink. The team posits that the muscle recovery benefits may be linked to the antioxidant activity of the juice. During intense exercise the production levels of oxidative stress rise, thus potentially causing damage to muscle tissue; this effect, however, may be attenuated with consumption of the cherry juice.