In recent years, tart cherry juice has been touted for its potential health benefits for athletes. Here are 4 reasons why those with active lifestyles can consider incorporating tart cherry juice into their fitness routine.
BY: NICK BIASE, RDN
Tart cherry juice has gained popularity for its potential health benefits in the active community. Tart cherry juice is loaded with polyphenols such as flavonoids and, most notably, anthocyanins that contribute to the red pigment in cherries and other dark-colored fruits. These compounds are shown to reduce inflammation and combat oxidative stress, with positive health effects in reducing risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Here are 4 reasons why anyone who’s active should consider sipping tart cherry juice as part of their routine:
Sleep is a major variable in our overall well-being, but many of us are lacking in that department. Research shows promising evidence that tart cherry juice may assist in getting a better night’s sleep, possibly from its melatonin content.
Tart cherry juice may also prevent negative effects associated with endurance sports. Specifically, some studies have shown a significant reduction in muscle pain and upper respiratory tract symptoms among long distance runners who drank tart cherry juice when compared to those who consumed a placebo.
Refuel for energy
Like most fruit juices, tart cherry has a generous amount of carbohydrate with 30-45g per 8oz serving. This amount makes tart cherry juice a great option for topping off on energy before an active event, as well as replenishing energy stores afterwards.
Based on my own experience as an endurance runner, tart cherry juice can be easily incorporated with a pre- or post-workout smoothie, or a diluted serving in a large water bottle to make daily fluid intake more tasty. Anyone active, ranging from moderate exercisers to ultra-endurance athletes, can improve their game by sipping 1-2 servings per day of 10-12 ounces. Ideally, one serving can be consumed once before AND after exercise.
Dried tart cherries can also be added to a favorite trail mix and eaten during long endurance events to replenish energy stores, rather than relying on gels.
While there’s no true miracle-performing “superfood” out there, tart cherries boast positive benefits and are yet another example of a food that can serve a purpose in both your daily health and fitness goals.
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Nick Biase, RDN is a San Diego-based registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition and wellness. Nick is a Marine veteran, fitness enthusiast, home brewer, and a firm believer that you can keep both 6-packs. To develop your nutrition game plan with Nick, make a visit to Nutrition Cadre.