5 Reasons Why Tart Cherries Are the New Health Hero

Whether you drink it in juice form or pop one after the other into your mouth like candy, this deliciously sour fruit offers powerful antioxidant and fitness-boosting benefits.

Studio shot of cherriesPhoto: Shutterstock / Mood Board/REX
Photo: Shutterstock / Mood Board/REX

A slice of tart cherry pie is a year-round family favorite—especially with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream on top. But we bet you didn’t know that you can receive some serious health benefits by consuming it in its natural state, as an extract or by drinking a glass or two of 100 percent tart cherry juice daily.

Yes, tart cherry in any of these forms is excellent after a workout or before bed. Here’s why:

1. Tart cherries help boost workout performance and recovery

Soccer players and long-distance runners will attest: Tart cherries are a super food packed with natural anti-inflammatory powers. Research from Oregon Health and Science University showed that people who drank about 10 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day for seven days before a race reported significantly less pain after exercise than the placebo group.

2. They’ll help you catch more Zzzzzs

If you’re among the 25 percent of people who struggle to get proper shut-eye, tart cherries could be your secret sleeping weapon. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that the tangy fruit significantly elevated the level of melatonin in bodies. Melatonin helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. So a little juice nightcap or supplement could be a great nightly ritual, especially for people who travel across time zones.

3. Tart cherries help lower blood pressure

According to research published by England’s Northumbria University published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tart cherry juice reduces high blood pressure at the same level as medication. Research suggests that this wonder fruit also could prevent heart attacks, heart failure, stroke and dementia.

4. They reduce inflammation

A study on post-workout pain conducted by British researchers showed that a group of participants who drank tart cherry juice recovered faster than those who drank other fruit juices. Research also shows that the tart cherry’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce joint pain in arthritis sufferers. More research is required to make a deeper correlation. But healthcare professionals are increasingly recommending the fruit.

5. They may even promote brain health

Anti-inflammatory properties found in tart cherries help maintain healthy arteries, making them more flexible and increasing blood flow to the brain, which is great for anyone who wants to have faster reaction times and better memory. What’s more, tart cherries have also shown promise in patients with mild to moderate dementia. One study compared individuals who drank 200 milliliters of tart cherry juice every day for 12 weeks and another group that drank the same amount of a placebo. The group that drank the tart cherry juice experienced improvements in ability to communicate verbally and in short-term and long-term memory compared with the placebo group, which experienced no changes.

It’s clear that science supports tart cherries as a superfood. So go ahead and indulge in a rhubarb and tart cherry pie (from time to time). Or, better yet, drink some tart cherry juice.

Cheryl Doherty
I have a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. I am a writing coach. Sometimes clients come to me to me because they want to write a book, develop content for their website and others discover they wanted to understand a personal situation better, and writing for them acts as a form of therapy. I worked in corporate marketing for ten years and have been a digital marketer developing websites and web content for a further ten. I love adventure. I love to travel. I love to cook with fresh ingredients. I love all things native. My family live in British Columbia. I live in Wales, UK with my two sons. This year we travelled for four months around BC, Canada. We broke out of our comfort zone and lived. It's something that I want to do again and again.