The Ultimate Guide to Tart Cherries
The Ultimate Guide to Tart Cherries
Cherry Healthy: The Benefits of Tart Cherries
Curious about tart cherries? You’re not alone. You’ve likely heard of tart cherry supplements or know people who swear by them—and for good reason.
These superfood fruits are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that may help reduce joint discomfort, promote muscle recovery after workouts, and optimize your wellness as you age.
Fortunately, with tart cherry supplements like Cherry Goodness, you can experience the goodness of tart cherries in a super convenient form, anytime and anywhere.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What tart cherry is,
- The benefits of tart cherry,
- How it can help balance joint health, inflammation, and free radicals,
- Who should use tart cherry supplements,
- The potential side effects and safety concerns of tart cherry use,
- How to choose the best tart cherry supplement,
- And why Cherry Goodness Joint Health Plus is a great option for anyone looking for a high-quality, all-natural tart cherry supplement.
What is tart cherry?
Tart cherries are a specific type of cherry that are also sometimes called sour cherries or Montmorency cherries—as they’re originally from the Montmorency region in France. However, they grow well in cooler climates across the world.
As the name suggests, these cherries pack some serious pucker. They’re deliciously sour while still maintaining lots of natural sweetness, making them perfect for cherry pies and other cherry desserts, or dried to add to salads or trail mixes.
However, the same compounds in the cherries that give them their red color and refreshingly tart flavor also lend the fruit some powerful, potentially health-boosting benefits.
Tart cherries are full of compounds called polyphenols (plant chemicals) that can affect the body in a number of positive ways.
They’re particularly rich in anthocyanins, the red-tinted antioxidants that give them their deep red hue. However, they also contain compounds like vanillic acid, and chlorogenic acid—also polyphenols that provide some health benefits. All of these compounds, especially when they’re working synergistically, may have some powerful effects on your health. (1)
Tart cherries are also just plain nutritious. A whole cup of tart cherries with the pit contains only about 50 calories, but comes loaded with nutrients. They’re a good source of vitamin C, providing 11% of the Daily Value (DV) for this immune-strengthening, antioxidant vitamin. They also provide 12% of the DV for copper, an important mineral for energy production and healthy red blood cell formation. Additionally, they’re rich in beta-carotene, a plant based precursor of vitamin A, an essential nutrient that can help maintain eye health. (2)
For these reasons, tart cherry has become a popular dietary supplement. After all, you can’t always get your hands on fresh cherries— and tart cherry juices and concentrates can be expensive and contain tons of sugar when used therapeutically. Supplemental form is advantageous because it offers a concentrated, tart cherry punch—providing the many polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals found naturally in cherries in a super-convenient, easy to take form. They allow you to experience the benefits of tart cherries year-round, even if you aren’t lucky enough to reside in the Montmorency region of France.
Benefits of tart cherry
The many nutrients and antioxidants contained within this tiny fruit makes it worthy of superfood status. In fact, there are several research-supported benefits of tart cherry.
The key, research-backed benefits of tart cherry include it’s ability to cool inflammation and oxidative stress.
Many of the benefits of tart cherry can be traced back to its inflammation-balancing and antioxidant potential. (3)
Short-term inflammation is a normal and healthy response by your immune system to injury or illness—triggering a flood of white blood cells to the injury site, which causes swelling but is a necessary part of the healing process.
Unfortunately, though, inflammation that sticks around even when there’s no injury or illness is an abnormal immune response. It can increase discomfort in the areas it affects. Fortunately, the anthocyanins in tart cherry may help to regulate it—potentially promoting overall wellness and reduced discomfort. (4)
Additionally, the polyphenols in cherries possess powerful antioxidant characteristics, from the anthocyanins to the vitamin C—which is both an essential nutrient and an antioxidant.
Antioxidants help to stabilize unstable compounds called free radicals, preventing them from damaging your cells. Free radicals are normal, and your body actually needs them in small amounts, but they start to cause problems when they build up in large amounts. They can damage your cells in a process known as oxidative stress—hence the name “antioxidants” for the compounds that neutralize them. (5)
Free radicals are naturally created by your body, but you’re also exposed to them in food, water, cleaning supplies, the air, personal care products, cosmetics, and medications. They’re essentially unavoidable, and this prevalence of free radicals can significantly increase your risk of oxidative damage.
Free radical damage has been implicated in premature aging, skin aging, and the development of several chronic diseases. Free radical damage can also trigger your body’s inflammatory response. (6)
Fortunately, though, tart cherry is a rich source of antioxidants that may help reduce and prevent oxidative damage.
One study in healthy older adults investigated both the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of tart cherry juice. In this study, 37 senior adults were assigned to drink either 2 cups of tart cherry juice or a control drink daily for 12 weeks.
After the 12 weeks were up, researchers found that the tart cherry group had higher levels of DNA-repairing compounds in their blood and lower levels of free radicals and inflammatory markers. The tart cherry group also experienced a decrease in their systolic (top number) blood pressure, as well as a decrease in oxidized low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the type that’s considered a risk factor for heart disease. (7)
Due to its inflammation balancing and free radical fighting properties, tart cherry is commonly used to help reduce joint discomfort and promote muscle recovery for people who lead active lifestyles.
Tart cherries may help reduce discomfort
Animal studies have noted a link between tart cherry anthocyanins and reduced inflammatory pain. In one rat study, researchers found that tart cherry extracts rich in anthocyanins helped to reduce inflammation and swelling to paw injuries, which in turn appeared to reduce discomfort in the rats. (8)
This research is extremely promising, and the existing studies conducted with humans suggest that the effects may be similar.
The antioxidants found in cherries may help to reduce uric acid levels in the blood, according to some preliminary research.
Uric acid is a byproduct of digestion that usually gets eliminated through your urine, but high levels over time can actually crystallize and accumulate in your joints—causing episodes of extreme discomfort.
However, tart cherry may play a role in preventing this discomfort because of its potential to reduce uric acid levels in the blood. Some studies have shown that taking a tart cherry supplement, or even eating tart cherries, can lower uric acid levels in healthy people. (9, 10)
Additionally, researchers have found that tart cherry may help relieve the inflammatory response that triggers discomfort in people with ongoing joint issues.
One high-quality study in 20 women with an inflammatory joint condition measured the effects of drinking 10.5 ounces of tart cherry juice twice daily for 21 days, compared to a placebo group that received a cherry-flavored drink. (11)
This study found that those who received the tart cherry juice saw a reduction in C-reactive protein, a compound in the blood that signals inflammation.
Although more human studies are needed, there’s a solid foundation of scientific evidence to suggest that tart cherry may be an excellent natural choice to help manage joint discomfort.
Tart cherry helps reduce muscle soreness
Finally, tart cherry is uniquely beneficial for people who lead active lifestyles—regardless of age—because it provides numerous benefits for fatigued muscles.
Vigorous exercise damages your muscle tissue, which is why you experience soreness after intense exercise sessions. This damage is necessary to promote new muscle growth, but over a short-term period can significantly affect your stamina. In fact, research shows that it can take up to a week to fully recover from a long distance run. And if you’re a long distance runner, you know that it’s not a good idea to take a one week break between runs because this can affect your speed and endurance. (12)
Fortunately, tart cherry might help hasten this recovery process, due once again to its richness in polyphenols like anthocyanins. Studies have noted reductions in strength loss and muscle damage, as well as post-exercise maintenance of muscle function, when cherry juice is supplemented prior to and during exercise.
One high-quality study in 54 healthy runners investigated how cherry juice helps with post-race muscle recovery. For the seven days leading up the race, each participant drank either cherry juice or a placebo drink twice a day, and during the race they drank two bottles.
Although participants in both groups reported their pain had increased from the start of the race to the finish of the race, the reported increase in pain was much less in the cherry juice group—suggesting that the cherry juice may have helped reduce post-race discomfort. (12)
Similar results were found in a study investigating the effects of tart cherry juice on trained cyclists who repeated intense cycling workouts three days in a row. Researchers found that those who received the cherry concentrate rather than a placebo had reduced inflammatory and free radical activity. (13)
What’s more, in addition to cardio workouts, tart cherries may help with muscle recovery from more muscle-intensive resistance workouts as well. One study noted that tart cherry use significantly reduced muscle damage in trained athletes immediately following an intense resistance training workout compared to a placebo group.
Additionally, one day after the workout, those who received tart cherry juice had retained more of their grip strength than those in the placebo group. Finally, two days after the workout, those in the tart cherry group reported significantly less muscle soreness. (14)
Because inflammation and oxidative stress can compound muscle damage, tart cherry offers some powerful benefits for athletes or anyone who wants to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle full of activities that work up a sweat.
Who would benefit from using tart cherry?
Because it’s loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants, tart cherry is a great daily maintenance supplement for anyone who leads an active, busy lifestyle, who wants to help reduce joint discomfort naturally, or who wants to support their body as it ages in our modern world.
It may be right for you if you’re concerned about levels of inflammation in your body affecting your joints. The anthocyanins found in tart cherries may help prevent or diminish joint discomfort from uric acid buildup or inflammation.
You may also want to consider taking tart cherry if you’re a fitness enthusiast, a competitive athlete, or someone who leads an active lifestyle—even if it doesn’t involve going to the gym or working out regularly. Walking your dogs, gardening, house cleaning, golfing, working at a physical job, playing with your kids or grandkids—all of these activities (and many more) engage your muscles and can leave you feeling sore. Fortunately, the polyphenols in tart cherry juice help to optimize muscle recovery, giving you a competitive edge or simply making it easier to bounce back after strenuous activity.
Tart cherry is also a great choice for anyone looking for antioxidant support. Because free radicals are so prevalent in our food and environment, it’s easy for free radical levels to become imbalanced. This can lead to the free radical assault on your cells known as oxidative damage, to which antioxidants are a potential solution. If you work in a building with poor air quality, you’re exposed to second or third hand smoke, or you’re exposed to other toxins or allergens, you have uncontrolled blood sugar levels, you have a lot of stress in your life, you diet isn’t as clean as you’d like it to be and so many other things that could contribute to oxidative stress – you need more antioxidants in your life.
If you feel your diet is lacking in antioxidants, or if you’re particularly concerned about oxidative damage, taking a tart cherry supplement may help to restore that natural balance of free radicals and promote optimal wellness.
Finally, free radical damage has also been implicated as an accelerator of aging, so you may also be interested in tart cherry if you want to prioritize aging well while minimizing the downsides associated with aging. As we age our little powerhouses inside each cell, called mitochondria, start to decline. Many health experts believe that the secret to aging well, with integrity and vitality, is to prevent damage to mitochondria. This is where tart cherry comes in to help you take back your aging experience!
Tart cherry side effects and safety
Because they come from cherries, a nutritious whole food, tart cherry supplements are safe for nearly everyone with very few potential side effects.
However, tart cherries contain quercetin, a powerful polyphenol that may interfere with blood thinning medications. If you’re taking a blood thinner, you should speak with your healthcare professional before you start using a tart cherry supplement. (15)
Additionally, pregnant or breastfeeding women should speak to their doctor before adding any new supplement to their routine, as some may have effects on the developing fetus or pass through the breast milk to the infant.
Choosing a tart cherry supplement
Now that you know the benefits of tart cherries, the next step is to choose a tart cherry supplement. This is where it can get overwhelming! There are tons of tart cherry products on the market, but a few stand out above the rest. Here’s how to identify the best of the best when it comes to tart cherry supplements.
What type of tart cherry is best?
Not all tart cherry supplements are created equally. The polyphenol content can vary drastically depending on the quality of the fruit used, where and when it was grown, how it was processed, and a number of other factors. That’s why any old tart cherry supplement just won’t do.
When shopping for a tart cherry product, you should look for the ones that are made with NordicCherry, a tart cherry extract made from high quality cherries grown in Denmark..
NordicCherry’s process starts with the cherries. They’re a unique type of tart cherry cultivar called Stevnsbaer cherries. These cherries are small and low in water, but absolutely loaded with health-boosting polyphenols.
After harvest, the fruit and skins of these cherries are gently processed using patented water extraction techniques to isolate the bioactive polyphenols.
Finally, the resulting isolated polyphenols are protected with a plant starch matrix using NordicCherry’s MatrixShield technology.
The end result is an easily mixable, non-clumping powder that offers a potent dose of tart cherry polyphenols in each 500 mg serving.
NordicCherry has been scientifically shown to promote muscle recovery following intense workouts, and each and every dose provides a consistent, standardized, and powerful dose of tart cherry polyphenols—without the sugar content of tart cherry juices.
Tart cherry juice vs. tart cherry supplements
You probably noticed that a lot of the research on tart cherry benefits has been done using tart cherry juice, and some pretty large amounts too. Some studies mentioned above used about 20 ounces a day to ensure that participants were getting enough tart cherry polyphenols.
Unfortunately, 20 ounces of cherry juice also provides a whopping 372 calories and 80 grams of sugar. (16)
All that extra sugar can lead to unwanted weight gain via insulin spikes, as we know from multitudes of research that sugar causes oxidation, insulin resistance, belly fat and inflammation. Emerging research consistently suggests that excess sugar may play a huge role in the development of conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. (17, 18)
Clearly, the benefits of tart cherry can swiftly be derailed if our bodies can’t metabolize all that sugar properly. The devastating effects of sugar on health are so well understood that it’s clear we need the benefits of tart cherry without the sugar.
For this reason, it’s better to choose a supplement form—like a powder, capsule, or extract—of tart cherry, rather than a juice.
Additionally, tart cherry supplements are more convenient. They can be taken quickly and effortlessly, saving you the need to measure out an amount in a cup and the time to drink it every day. Cherry juice bottles are also bulky and not great for travel, whereas supplements are easy to grab when you’re on-the-go, or to pack when you’re traveling or enjoying time being active recreationally or competitively.
Finally, there’s the issue of standardization. Across servings, batches, and brands, you may not be getting a similar amount of polyphenols every time you drink tart cherry juice. The point of harnessing tart cherry as a medicinal asset to health is lost is we can’t standardize the amount making quality supplement form the ideal way to take it.
On the other hand, if you choose a supplement—especially one made from a high quality tart cherry extract like NordicCherry—you can rest assured that each dose is packed with what you’re really after: the tart cherry polyphenols!
Introducing Cherry Goodness Joint Health Plus
Cherry Goodness Joint Health Plus is a high quality tart cherry supplement that meets all of these criteria for a worthwhile supplement. But not only is it made with NordicCherry and low in sugar, it also contains other good-for-you superfood ingredients like:
- Boswellia serrata: Also known as Indian frankincense, this herb exhibits inflammation and oxidation balancing properties. Research suggests that it can improve knee joint function and reduce knee discomfort in as little as seven days, in some cases. (19)
- Rephyll: Rephyll contains beta-caryophyllene, a terpene isolated from black pepper. It may help delay the onset of muscle soreness and reduce discomfort post-workout, and defend your cells against degradation from oxidative stress. (20)
- Collagen: Collagen forms the protein matrix that provides structure and flexibility to your skin, joints, and soft tissues. As a supplement, type II collagen may reduce joint discomfort and stiffness. It’s also been linked to a decrease in inflammatory blood markers. (21)
In addition to containing these power-packed ingredients, Cherry Goodness Joint Health Plus is gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and sugar-free—as well as non-GMO. It’s also manufactured in the USA, from meticulously globally sourced, high-quality ingredients.
It’s not just for joint health, either. These carefully chosen ingredients also make it a powerhouse of antioxidants, and a great daily maintenance supplement for active people and anyone looking to age well.
Tart Cherry Summary
Tart cherry is loaded with nutrients and polyphenols, like anthocyanins—which provide it with robust inflammation-balancing and free radical-fighting properties. It can help ward of free radical attacks on your cells, along with reducing discomfort related to inflammation. In addition, it can help promote muscle recovery after intense physical activity.
This makes tart cherry a powerful tool for anyone suffering from joint discomfort, as well as people who lead active lifestyles and anyone who wants to optimize their wellness as they age.
As the star ingredient in Cherry Goodness Joint Health Plus, NordicCherry is uniquely supportive to your joints, muscles, and cells. Joint Health Plus also contains other high quality ingredients, like B. serrata, Rephyll, and collagen to enhance its effects. And unlike cherry juices, Joint Health Plus provides all the benefits of tart cherry polyphenols with none of the sugar!
To experience the benefits of tart cherry for yourself, Cherry Goodness Joint Health Plus is an excellent all-natural option.
- Keane KM, Bell PG, Lodge JK, et al. Phytochemical uptake following human consumption of Montmorency tart cherry (L. Prunus cerasus) and influence of phenolic acids on vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro. Eur J Nutr. 2016;55(4):1695-1705. doi:10.1007/s00394-015-0988-9
- S. Department of Agriculture. Cherries, sour, red, raw. USDA FoodData Central website. Updated April 2019. Accessed April 2021. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173954/nutrients
- Wang H, Nair MG, Strasburg GM, et al. Antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities of anthocyanins and their aglycon, cyanidin, from tart cherries. J Nat Prod. 1999;62(5):802. doi:10.1021/np990184z
- Dinarello CA. Anti-inflammatory Agents: Present and Future. 2010;140(6):935-950. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.02.043
- Alkadi H. A Review on Free Radicals and Antioxidants. Infect Disord Drug Targets. 2020;20(1):16-26. doi:10.2174/1871526518666180628124323
- Radi R. Oxygen radicals, nitric oxide, and peroxynitrite: Redox pathways in molecular medicine. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018;115(23):5839-5848. doi:10.1073/pnas.1804932115
- Chai SC, Davis K, Zhang Z, Zha L, Kirschner KF. Effects of Tart Cherry Juice on Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Older Adults. 2019;11(2):228. Published 2019 Jan 22. doi:10.3390/nu11020228
- Tall JM, Seeram NP, Zhao C, Nair MG, Meyer RA, Raja SN. Tart cherry anthocyanins suppress inflammation-induced pain behavior in rat. Behav Brain Res. 2004;153(1):181-188. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2003.11.011
- Lamb KL, Lynn A, Russell J, Barker ME. Effect of tart cherry juice on risk of gout attacks: protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open. 2020;10(3):e035108. Published 2020 Mar 15. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035108
- Martin KR, Coles KM. Consumption of 100% Tart Cherry Juice Reduces Serum Urate in Overweight and Obese Adults. Curr Dev Nutr. 2019;3(5):nzz011. Published 2019 Feb 25. doi:10.1093/cdn/nzz011
- Kuehl KS, Elliot DL, Sleigh AE, Smith JL. Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice to Reduce Inflammation Biomarkers among Women with Inflammatory Osteoarthritis (OA). J Food Studies. 2012;1(1): 14-25.
- Kuehl KS, Perrier ET, Elliot DL, Chesnutt JC. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010;7:17. Published 2010 May 7. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-17
- Bell PG, Walshe IH, Davison GW, Stevenson E, Howatson G. Montmorency cherries reduce the oxidative stress and inflammatory responses to repeated days high-intensity stochastic cycling. 2014;6(2):829-843. Published 2014 Feb 21. doi:10.3390/nu6020829
- Jacksonville University Center for Health & Human Performance. A broad spectrum tart-cherry extract (NordicCherry) supplement on markers of recovery from intense resistance exercise: summary of the preliminary study findings. 2019. Accessed April 2021.
- Kim DW, Jung DH, Sung J, Min IS, Lee SJ. Tart Cherry Extract Containing Chlorogenic Acid, Quercetin, and Kaempferol Inhibits the Mitochondrial Apoptotic Cell Death Elicited by Airborne PM10 in Human Epidermal Keratinocytes. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021;10(3):443. Published 2021 Mar 13. doi:10.3390/antiox10030443
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- DiNicolantonio JJ, O'Keefe JH, Lucan SC. Added fructose: a principal driver of type 2 diabetes mellitus and its consequences. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015;90(3):372-381. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.12.019
- Perazza LR, Mitchell PL, Jensen BAH, et al. Dietary sucrose induces metabolic inflammation and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases more than dietary fat in LDLr-/-ApoB100/100 mice. Atherosclerosis. 2020;304:9-21. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2020.05.002
- Siddiqui MZ. Boswellia serrata, a potential antiinflammatory agent: an overview. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011;73(3):255-261. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.93507
- Amalraj A, Jacob J, Varma K, Gopi S. Preparation and Characterization of Liposomal β-Caryophyllene (Rephyll) by Nanofiber Weaving Technology and Its Effects on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) in Humans: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Crossover-Designed, and Placebo-Controlled Study. ACS Omega.2020;5(37):24045-24056. Published 2020 Sep 8. doi:10.1021/acsomega.0c03456
- Lugo JP, Saiyed ZM, Lane NE. Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutr J. 2016;15:14. Published 2016 Jan 29. doi:10.1186/s12937-016-0130-8