One of the richest known sources of antioxidants, tart cherries are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. New research suggests that tart cherries offer pain relief from gout and arthritis, reduce exercise-induced joint and muscle pain, lower cholesterol, and improve inflammatory markers. Drink a glass of tart cherry juice in the morning with breakfast or combine dried tart cherries with nuts for a snack.
Sore muscles after a workout don’t have to be a given. Tart cherries appear to possess similar effectiveness in treating the inflammatory reaction seen in both acute and chronic pain syndromes encountered among athletes and non-athletes with chronic inflammatory disease.
British researchers recently found that people who drank 1 ounce of concentrated cherry juice twice daily for 10 days bounced back faster from their workout (an intensive leg-resistance training session on day 8) than those who skipped the juice. Researchers think it’s because the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in tart cherries—and other dark red and purple fruit juices like grape, pomegranate, acai, blueberry, and cranberry—act as natural NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin), reducing exercise-induced muscle damage.