Montmorency Tart Cherries: The Hottest New Performance Food
A growing number of elite athletes are turning to Montmorency tart cherries as a post-exercise recovery aid
Elite athletes know that getting the most out of each workout and improving performance is easier when you recover quicker after exercise. That’s why U.S.-grown Montmorency tart cherry juice has gained a devoted following among professional athletes and recreational exercisers as a post-exercise recovery beverage.
Scientific research supporting Montmorency tart cherry juice as a recovery drink has involved long-distance runners, cyclists, soccer players and strength trainers. Although more research is needed to be conclusive on the exact role tart cherries play in recovery, the evidence during the last 10 years has analyzed a variety of outcomes. Researchers are looking at how tart cherry consumption reduces post-exercise pain, markers of inflammation, muscle damage and strength loss; and how it improves recovery time and performance.
One of the most recent studies published in the European Journal of Sport Science was the first-ever investigation of the benefits of Montmorency tart cherry juice among a female-only population. U.K. researchers found that Montmorency tart cherry concentrate—when consumed by the group of 20 physically active, college-aged women who were part of a university dance team twice a day for eight days—reduced self-reported muscle soreness and impacted certain aspects of muscle function after exercise, compared to a placebo. Additional measures of muscle function including maximum voluntary isometric contraction, a series of drop jumps and 30-meter sprint time did not show a difference between groups.1
In another study of 20 recreational male and female runners competing in the London marathon, those who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice five days before, day-of and two days after a long-distance race experienced a faster recovery of muscle strength and reported less muscle discomfort compared to those who drank a different beverage.2
Another investigation among eight trained male competitive cyclists found that Montmorency tart cherry powder supplementation for seven days improved 15-kilometer cycling time-trail performance among the highly-trained athletes. While all eight subjects experienced an improvement in time-trial performance, two of the subjects reported that those changes were minimal.3
The health benefits of Montmorency tart cherries goes beyond exercise recovery and many studies have explored the potential impact on arthritis and gout, heart health, and sleep. Sleep, in particular, also is an important part of exercise recovery.
Montmorency tart cherries are cropping up in a variety of performance products, including single-serve recovery beverages, nutrition bars, trail mixes, chews and gummies to attract an active audience.
Montmorency tart cherries—the non-imported variety grown in the U.S.—are available year-round in juice and juice concentrate, dried, frozen, and canned forms. They easily can be incorporated into a range of sports performance foods and beverages.
To source Montmorency tart cherries, visit CherryProcessor.com.
1. Brown MA, Stevenson EJ, Howatson G. Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) supplementation accelerates recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in females. European Journal of Sport Science. 2019; 19:95-102.
2. Howatson G, McHugh MP, Hill JA, et al. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010;20:843-52.
3. Morgan PT, Barton MJ, Bowtell JL. Montmorency cherry supplementation improves 15-km cycling time-trial performance. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2019; Jan.8 [epub ahead of print].