Originally published in June 2017; updated May 2023.
Powerful Superfood: Cherries
It seems like there’s been a lot of hype around cherries lately, doesn’t it? It may just be me (since I work in the industry,) but during the spring and summer of every year, everyone’s talking about cherries and for good reason; cherries are tasty and crazy good for you! It’s no secret cherries contain a lot of nutritional value. By consuming one cup of cherries, you’re reaping the benefits of natural melatonin, vitamin C, and antioxidants as well as eating a snack that is fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free (all under 90 calories, by the way.)
Researchers have also discovered consuming cherries in juice form can help you gain those same benefits, plus aid in quicker recovery time from strenuous activities. Reported in a study conducted by the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers found marathoners who consumed 12 ounces of cherry juice twice a day a week prior to a race found their recovery time was quicker, and they experienced less pain and inflammation versus the group who did not consume cherry juice.
Cherries also contain anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants that help decrease inflammation, support the body’s heart and surrounding tissues, and may help prevent certain cancers. Anthocyanins also play a role in improving cognitive function and reduce pain from arthritis and gout. This group of antioxidants can be found in a number of fruits and vegetables, and are responsible for producing the deep red coloring of cherries.
Cherry Juice Benefits
I’m on the go a lot, so when I don’t have time to grab a handful of cherries, I like to sip on fresh cherry juice instead, and there are many health benefits that come with it!
Homemade cherry juice possesses multiple health benefits including the ability to lower cholesterol, level blood sugar, help digestion, and it may even help with weight loss. Cherries have vitamin A, vitamin C (16% of the daily recommended value in one serving), calcium, potassium (which helps keep the body functioning properly) and iron. Cherry juice benefits not only help you stay healthy, but provide that satisfying flavor we are always searching for, even on the go.
Let’s Make Cherry Juice
But how do you make cherry juice with Stemilt sweet cherries? There are multiple ways to make fresh Homemade Cherry Juice, but check out our recipe below to learn how to make it without having to pit the cherries first!
How Cherries Can Aid in Workout Recovery
For people who are pretty active, cherries can also aid in a faster recovery time. Studies have found cherry juice (tart cherry juice specifically, but tart and sweet cherries have very similar health benefits) helps you recover quicker after a tough workout due to its ability to reduce muscle soreness as a result of anthocyanins, an antioxidant found in cherries. Anthocyanins can help with a number of things in the body including supporting the body’s heart and surrounding tissues, decreasing inflammation within the body, and can even help prevent certain cancers. Anthocyanins are also responsible for giving cherries their dark red coloring. You can also find boron in cherries, a mineral that helps maintain calcium levels and promotes bone health.
During the summer, it’s very likely that your calendar of spare time is either full, or filling up quickly. And for good reason! Summer is the season for any and all activities, including those that are outdoors and involve breaking a sweat! Whether you’re swimming laps at the local pool, hiking, biking, or training to participate in an endurance race, we’re going to let you in on a little secret…how one of the best fruits of the summer season – cherries – can help alleviate muscle pain and aid in your workout recovery.
In 2011, researchers at the Sports and Exercise Science Research Center at London South Bank University studied the effects tart cherry juice had on the recovery of 10 trained athletes after an intense strength training session. Athletes drank 1 ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate twice daily for seven days prior to and two days after their workout. Within just 24 hours of their workout, athletes who consumed cherry juice returned to 90 percent of normal muscle force, which was about 5 percent higher than the results were when the athletes did not consume cherry juice.
Though the research looked specifically at tart cherries in juice form and the response of elite athletes, the findings from this study provide good news for sweet cherry enthusiasts like you and I, especially when looking to recover from a workout, or tend to muscle pains. That’s because tart cherries and sweet cherries are very similar from a nutritional standpoint.
Sweet cherries have anti-inflammatory properties thanks to a high concentration of anthocyanins, a group of phytochemicals that work as antioxidants and give cherries their deep red color. Like all antioxidants do, anthocyanins help combat oxidative stress in the body, which can certainly occur after putting strain on the body’s muscles during a particularly challenging workout or activity.
The tart cherry juice and muscle recovery research adds to the pile of evidence that says cherries of all kinds aren’t just a treat, but a superfood! Cherry nutrition is a topic we’ve discussed before on The Stem, including how the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries that aid athletes can also aid people who suffer from arthritis and gout. Cherries are low in calories, a source for dietary fiber and vitamin C, and rank among the top 20 foods with the most antioxidants.
All that nutrition packed inside such a delicious little fruit! Thank goodness it’s easy to fuel your body and mind with all the health benefits cherries provide during the summer months thanks to the abundance of cherries available in grocery stores!
From juicing and blending to salads, entrees, desserts, and more, there are many ways to use sweet cherries beyond just snackin’ on a huge bowl of them (although I definitely suggest doing that.)
Download our FREE Cherry How-To Guide today and get free recipes, tips and more!
With all of that being said, one of the greatest attributes of all is that cherries are fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free which makes it a great snack to curve those sneaky evening cravings (yeah, we’re looking at you ice cream and salty bag of chips). Plus, there are only about 90 calories in one cup of cherries. . So in short, cherries are a superfruit and we love it.
What new ways are you enjoying sweet cherries this summer? Do you eat cherries to reap a certain nutritional benefit? Tell me in the comments below!