Also known as sour cherries, they come from hundreds of varieties of trees grown across the world. Montmorency is the varietal of tart cherry (Prunus cerasus) most commonly grown in the US3.
Tart cherries are among nature’s most potent sources of flavonoids, including anthocyanin, which are the pigments that give the berries their color, and they are known to have a powerful antioxidant activity.1 Many of the positive benefits of tart cherries, like reducing muscle soreness after exercise, easing arthritis pain and enhancing heart health, come from the high levels of this antioxidant flavonoid.4
Tart cherry may benefit your joints in several ways: Its potent antioxidant action may help protect joint tissues against free-radical damage, and the anthocyanins may help metabolize uric acid to keep it at a comfortable level.6 (Healthy uric acid levels play a role in the health and comfort of our joints).
Tart cherries may also promote joint health by helping strengthen collagen structures in connective tissues.2
Tart Cherries are one of the top anti-inflammatory foods. A study published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found that tart cherries also have a protective effecton muscles, helping reduce pain during strenuous exercise
Also, if you suffer from pain and stiffness after long training sessions, supplementing your diet with tart cherry may soothe your joints. A study from Oregon Health and Science University, among patients with osteoarthritis, showed that participants who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for three weeks saw a notable decrease in inflammation, especially for those patients who started the study with the worst inflammation.
Collagen plays a key role in the structure of joint cartilage. The anthocyanins in tart cherries may help protect the collagen in your body, by providing antioxidant support against environmental damage and helping strengthen collagen structures in connective tissues.2 Tart cherry also contains vitamin C, which may help support collagen formation.8
Tart cherries contain melatonin, a natural hormone that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles, so you can get the rest you need. Tart cherry also contains small amounts of tryptophan, and studies suggest it may increase tryptophan bioavailability9 for serotonin synthesis. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness, and it’s a precursor to melatonin.10
Additional studies and clinical trials have shown that tart cherries may also help heart health by promoting vascular function, supporting healthy blood pressure and promoting the health of blood vessel linings – a benefit that researchers believe may be linked to phenolic acids.11,12
Researchers say anthocyanins may improve vascular health significantly, although more studies should be conducted that are dose-specific and with focus on specific.13
Tart cherries may be the key to a brighter brain, according to research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, which reports that high levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins may slow degenerative brain diseases.
Tart Cherry extract (included in supplements) isprobably the most convenient way to take tart cherry. Capsules are super-concentrated and a great way to get the benefits of tart cherry without the calories and sugar that juice contains.