The acerola cherry, often referred to as the Barbados or French cherry, is an upright growing evergreen shrub native to Central America, northern South America and the Caribbean islands. The cherries are bright red and the size of regular cherries and often used to make juices and compotes. They can also be consumed fresh.
Acerola cherries are one of the best sources of vitamin C, a water soluble vitamin that your body is unable to make. Research has shown that vitamin C is vital for the growth and repair of tissues, meaning it heals wounds and helps to repair and keep healthy cartilage, bones, teeth and skin. Compared to an orange, acerola has 65 times more vitamin C and double the amount of magnesium, potassium and pantothenic acid. Magnesium helps to combat fatigue while potassium helps with muscle contractions. Acerola is also a significant source of vitamin A, which is key for a healthy immune system and cell growth.
In addition to high vitamin C levels, acerola cherries are rich in bioflavonoids which contain a large amount of antioxidants. These antioxidants help to fight free radicals in the body which may slow down or even prevent some cancers and heart disease, reduce inflammation and combat infections/viruses. For an athlete, a natural ingredient that helps you recover and stay healthy is essential for optimal performance.