Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice

By: Lilli Rozanski MS, RDN, LDN, Sports and Fitness Dietitian, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

Tart cherry juice is becoming increasingly popular in the fitness and athletic worlds for good reason. Tart cherries are really sour cherries with the most common type being the Montmorency cherry. They contain a high amount of anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show tart cherry juice may improve muscle function and speed up recovery by reducing inflammation, muscle damage and muscle soreness after exercise. The antioxidant properties of tart cherry juice also help give your immune system a nice boost!

If those weren’t enough benefits to make you consider adding tart cherry juice to your diet, tart cherries also contains melatonin, which is a hormone in the brain that helps regulate your body’s sleep cycle naturally. One study shows participants who consumed two 8-oz servings of tart cherry juice per day demonstrated significant improvements in sleep, experiencing 90 more minutes of effective sleep per night.

Tart cherry juice does show promise in aiding post-exercise ailments. However, it shouldn't be consumed as a replacement for a proper post-workout meal or snack. If you would like to consume tart cherry juice to help with exercise recovery, based on the amount given during studies, the recommendations are:

  • Drink 8 oz before activity
  • Drink 8 oz after activity

Like any supplement, cherry juice may not work for everyone. More data to back up these cherry juice studies would be welcome and are still needed to complete the cherry juice story. But if you are entering an intense training cycle or have an upcoming race and want to improve your recovery by managing inflammation and reducing muscle soreness, it is worth a try!

(References available upon request)

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