Some foods taste so darn great, it’s hard to believe there’s anything wholesome in them. One such food-y fruit? Tart cherries! These ruby red beauties are popping up in markets and stores around the United States. Tart cherries are obviously awesome to eat (pssh, of course), but the tiny fruit also has a number of health benefits, too.
What’s in Tart Cherries
Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients. The supremely sweet fruit is meaty and can be purchased fresh (although, this is not most people’s preferred form of the fruit), frozen, dried, in juice form, or canned (our least favorite form). One cup of these tangy delights is 78 calories. Tart cherries also contain a lot of vitamin A and C.
Health Benefits of Tart Cherries
A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in San Francisco stated that consumption of tart cherries could reduce chronic inflammation:
“The study consisted of 20 women, aged 40 to 70, who had inflammatory osteoarthritis. The researchers conducted a placebo-controlled, randomized trial for three weeks. During the trial period, the women drank either a placebo beverage or 10 1/2 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day. The study found significant reductions in serum inflammatory biomarkers, suggesting the benefits of tart cherry juice. The most notable reductions were in women who had the highest inflammation markers at the start of the study.”
Other recent research (in the British Journal of Sports Medicine at the University of Vermont) found that tart cherry juice aids in post-exercise muscle recovery:
“In May 2010, researchers from the Oregon Health Science University conducted a randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trial of 54 runners who ran an average of 26.3 km over a 24 hour period. Daily for a week before the event and on the day of the event, study participants drank about 12 oz. of tart cherry juice or placebo. Participants who drank the tart cherry juice reported significantly less pain than runners who received the placebo. It was concluded that the runners that used tart cherry juice had less inflammation and faster muscle strength recovery time.”
Tart cherries have also been said to improve sleep quality, and possibly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.