Tart Cherries Jubilee
Five Ways These Little Red Wonders Can Boost Your Health
Tart cherries are the latest en-vogue superfood, and for good reason. They contain nutrients, including Vitamins A, C and E, potassium, iron, manganese and folate. They’re also chock full of anthocyanins, the compounds that give the cherries their deep red color, which are potent antioxidants. Also known as sour, dwarf or Montmorency cherries, tart cherries are native to southwest Asia and Europe but are now grown in mass quantities in Michigan; the state accounts for over 70% of the United States’ tart cherry production. They are most often consumed dried, frozen or juiced, rather than fresh like their sweeter cousins (although they are still delicious baked into a pie!). Tart cherry powder and extract is found in many supplements, like Kore BCAA, because consuming tart cherries in supplement form allows you to avoid the substantial amounts of added sugars used to make the extra-sour juice palatable.
Tart cherries may support a host of health benefits for sleep, exercise, cognition and overall wellness, whether you consume them pre- or post-workout, before bed, or at any other time of day that suits your daily eating schedule. Here are five reasons to incorporate tart cherries into your diet.
Tart Cherry Can Help You Sleep
Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, the natural hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. They also contain anthocyanins - the phytochemicals responsible for their red color – which help increase the availability of the essential amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin, known as “the happy chemical,” helps with sleep, and tryptophan also increases the body’s natural ability to make melatonin. In one study of healthy adults, tart cherry increased melatonin levels, time in bed, total sleep time and total sleep efficiency, meaning less frequent wakeups.
Tart Cherry Can Increase Strength and Reduce Soreness
The anthocyanins in tart cherry may help reduce muscle weakness and soreness during and after hard exercise. One study showed ingesting tart cherry juice for seven days prior to and during a strenuous running event reduced post-run muscle soreness. The athletes also showed improved muscle recovery and function. Many subsequent studies have backed up these results, showing tart cherry can help reduce exercise-induced muscle breakdown and soreness, and help speed recovery during resistance training. The anthocyanins in tart cherries are believed to help manage soreness and help speed recovery by promoting healthy inflammatory response to exercise. VitaCherry Sport, the specific tart cherry powder found in Kore BCAAs, provides 300 milligrams of tart cherry per serving and helps to support a healthy post-exercise inflammatory response to help facilitate muscle recovery.
Tart Cherry May Support Healthy Brain Function
It is documented that tart cherry juice may have a positive effect on brain power. It is believed the anthocyanins in tart cherry juice help manage oxidative stress and support healthy brain function.
Tart Cherry May Support Healthy Cardiovascular Function
Some studies have suggested that tart cherry may help support healthy cardiovascular function. Scientists think this is because the compounds in tart cherry have a positive effect on vascular function.