Tart and sweet, cherries as fruit or juice can help your recovery when awake and asleep.

A few years ago, Northumbria University in England did a study with marathoners who drank cherry juice for five days leading up to a marathon and for two days afterward and found the runners recovered their strength quicker and had less inflammation than a placebo group. The cherries studied were Montmorency cherries, which are less on the sweet side, but all cherries are high in antioxidants. They are also high in melatonin, which helps you sleep—an important time for recovery.

In honor of prime season for fresh cherries, consider making a cherry clafoutis. This French dessert—or breakfast dish—is like a cross between a cake and a pie.

Recipe: Simple Cherry Clafoutis

2 cups cherries
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. almond or vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pit cherries and place in buttered baking dish or cake pan. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar and butter. Add the flour and mix. Gradually add the milk and almond extract as you keep stirring. Pour the batter over the fruit. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until slightly browned. Let sit 15 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.

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