Tart cherry juice is a highly nutritious beverage. It’s great for athletes as it helps boost circulation and can speed recovery after exercise.
For non-athletes, tart cherry juice is still something you can benefit from as it has a wide variety of impressive health benefits.
Continue reading to understand what exactly tart cherry juice is, the benefits of tart cherry juice, as well as ways to add it into your diet.
What is Tart Cherry Juice?
Tart cherry juice is a sour juice made from a specific type of cherry also known as Montmorency cherries or dwarf cherries. The cherries come from the Prunus cerasus tree that is native to southwest Asia and is found in some parts of Europe.
The juice made from these cherries is refreshing and packs a powerful punch of nutrients, too.
Tart cherry juice has less sugar than a standard cherry juice – like black cherry juice – and also contains way more health benefits, which will be discussed in the following sections of this article.
What are the Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
May Improve Circulation
Perhaps one of the most exciting benefits – especially for athletes – is tart cherry juice’s ability to improve circulation.
With improved circulation, blood flow increases, therefore delivering more oxygen throughout the body. This leads to better endurance.
In fact, one study showed that people who consumed tart cherry juice an hour and half before exercise experienced significant improvements in endurance performance(1).
But how exactly does tart cherry juice boost circulation?
One explanation is that the anti-inflammatory compounds in the juice help strengthen arteries which helps to enhance blood flow throughout the body. It’s also suggested that the anthocyanins, a specific category of antioxidants, help encourage healthy circulation.
Compared to other cherry juice varieties such as black cherries or sweet cherries, tart cherries have five times as many antioxidants (2).
It’s suggested that the high antioxidant content in tart cherries is the reason for many of its benefits.
Perhaps the most prevalent antioxidant found in tart cherries is anthocyanins, a class of antioxidants that are found in red fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins have potent disease-fighting compounds, can improve nerve function, enhance the immune system, and protect all of our body’s cells from damage.
Compounds in tart cherry juice have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies show that drinking tart cherry juice can reduce inflammation and pain associated with conditions such as gout, which is a form of inflammatory arthritis (3).
Many people report reduced arthritis-associated pain after drinking tart cherry juice on a regular basis. In fact, a study in 2012 showed that drinking tart cherry juice daily for 3 weeks led to reduced pain in those with osteoarthritis (4).
In addition to tart cherry juice reducing inflammation in those with arthritic conditions, it’s been suggested that tart cherries can reduce inflammation associated with metabolic syndrome, which is defined as a cluster of risk factors that are associated with the development of heart disease (5).
Boosts the Immune System
Many fruits and vegetables offer impressive immune-boosting benefits. However, tart cherries are especially rich in antioxidants and antiviral compounds to keep the immune system strong.
In particular, flavonoids, a specific class of antioxidants found in cherries, have been shown to improve the function of the immune system (6).
Improves Sleep Quality
Perhaps you’re looking for a natural way to improve your sleep quality. Look no further than tart cherries to improve your rest.
Although there is limited research, smaller studies suggest that drinking tart cherry juice before bed can help people fall and stay asleep better than those who do not drink tart cherry juice (7).
How exactly does tart cherry juice help sleep? Interestingly, tart cherries are rich in melatonin – which is a hormone that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. Studies show that supplementing with tart cherry juice increases the body’s production of melatonin (8).
Additionally, tart cherries contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is necessary for the body to produce melatonin.
May Help Speed Recovery After Exercise
Thanks to tart cherries' ability to improve circulation, they can be helpful to speed recovery after intense exercise.
With increased circulation, muscles are more quick to recover, inflammation is reduced, and soreness is lessened after both endurance and resistance exercise.
In fact, a study from 2010 found that runners who drank dark cherry juice for a few days prior to a race experienced less muscle damage, soreness, and inflammation compared to runners who did not drink the cherry juice (9).
Are There Side Effects of Tart Cherries?
Clearly, there are many benefits to consuming tart cherries including benefits for circulation and more. But, are there any side effects or down sides to keep in mind?
For one, it’s important to pay attention to the sugar content when choosing a tart cherry juice product. Some varieties of tart cherry juice are loaded with added sugars which can take away from the benefits that tart cherries provide. It’s best to opt for a juice that is unsweetened or contains minimal added sugars.
Other side effects to keep in mind are limited. However, tart cherry juice contains a natural plant compound called quercetin, which can interact with certain medications such as blood thinners. If you are taking medications it is recommended to check with your doctor before making tart cherry juice a regular part of your routine.
In general, tart cherry juice is a very safe – and tasty product – for most people. However, if you are taking medications it is best to check with your doctor, and it’s always a good idea to pay attention to the sugar content of the products you are choosing.
How Much Tart Cherry Can You Take a Day?
Drinking tart cherry juice is safe for most people. Although there is no set recommended amount to consume on a daily basis, it makes sense to follow dosages that are mimicked in research to maximize its benefits.
Many studies that observed the benefits of tart cherry juice provided participants with 8-ounce portions twice daily. If the tart cherry juice is from concentrate then studies show that 1-ounce portions on a daily basis was effective to provide benefits.
How soon you can see results may depend on the person and dosage, however, studies show that most benefits were observed after 7-10 days of supplementing with tart cherry juice.
The Easiest Way to Include Tart Cherry in Your Day
It’s easy to reap the benefits of tart cherries because it’s simple to incorporate this superfood into your routine.
While you can easily purchase a bottle of unsweetened tart cherry juice and consume 8 ounces once or twice daily, it might be even easier – and more cost effective – to purchase a concentrated version of tart cherry juice.
Our protein and recovery Naked Shots provides 300 mg of tart cherry extract In just a 1.5-ounce portion.
You will reap the benefits of tart cherry juice, along with amino acids and grass-fed collagen to help speed up your recovery after exercise.
Naked Shots are super simple to bring when you’re on-the-go, and it’s a simple way to give yourself increased circulation and reduced inflammation which will help your body recover and reduce soreness after exercise.
The shot also contains 10g of grass-fed collagen which has potent benefits for joint health and also helps reduce inflammation.
There are many benefits to consuming tart cherries. For one, tart cherries improve circulation, helping athletes to recover from exercise and boost performance.
Tart cherries also provide an impressive amount of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which help to boost the immune system and improve sleep quality.
A super simple way to add tart cherries to your day is by drinking Naked Shots Protein and Recovery after your workout.