A Quick Guide to Tart Cherries: The Secret Weapon for Runners & Triathletes

It’s no secret by now, if you run for leisure, sport, or professionally, you’ve likely heard about tart cherries. Maybe you’ve even seen evidence for the claim that tart cherries are a “runner’s secret weapon.” In this quick guide, we’re answering the go-to questions on tart cherries for runners; how much tart cherries to consume, when to take them, and all the basics you need to know to quickly put that cherry on top of your sprints, hill repeats, fartleks, tempos, and longs.


Are cherries good for runners?

Unequivocally, yes, cherries are a must for runners. Here’s why. Research has confirmed the various ways that tart cherries act to relieve common runner ailments—the U.S. The National Library of Medicine alone houses hundreds of studies on tart cherries. There is a direct relationship between tart cherry consumption and recovery when pulling apart studies conducted explicitly on ultrarunners and marathon runners. Tart cherry juice aids in recovery by increasing antioxidant capacity, which reduces inflammation.

What are the benefits of tart cherries for runners?

There’s a bowl full of advantages in tart cherries. Scientists continue to uncover the many benefits of tart cherries for a healthy heart and brain. For athletes, like runners and triathletes, here are four key benefits:

How much tart cherry should a runner take?

When looking at studies, it might be daunting to determine the right amount of tart cherry to take. For example, the numerous studies we’ve analyzed had a wide range of tart cherry dosages from 45-270 tart cherries/day and about 55-720mg/day of anthocyanins.

To simplify this wide range, we looked at the most effective dosage reported. Studies that showed a statistically significant benefit from tart cherries was at an 8-ounce (240-ml) serving of tart cherry juice or 480 mg of tart cherry powder per day. This amount is equivalent to at least 80 mg per day of anthocyanins. Of course, you can choose to eat your dosage, although that’s a whole lot of cherries -- but hey, the additional fiber factor is great. Experts recommend cherry juice or mixing the concentrated powder in your favorite juice or smoothie to get the most from your cherries in a pinch. 

When should runners take tart cherry juice?

For active runners, studies show the ideal dosage is 8 - 12 ounces of tart cherry juice or 1 ounce of concentrated powder, twice a day, for four to five days before a sporting event. For recovery, the same dosage should be taken two to three days after the event. For daily support and shorter workouts and runs, you can drink 8-12 ounces of tart cherry juice or 1 ounce of concentrated powder two hours before your daily workout. Studies show that tart cherries work best when the body has had a few days to absorb the many phytonutrients that reduce/eliminate inflammation and improve muscle recovery time. This brings us to the next question...

Why are cherries good for muscle recovery?

The main reason tart cherries are great for muscle recovery is the sheer number of phytonutrients they contain compared to other superfruits. Phytonutrients include anthocyanins, flavonoids, flavanols, polyphenols, and other natural compounds. This diversified profile of phytonutrients offers many pathways for exercise-related anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidants effects. So when one pathway is saturated, the many other phytonutrients present in tart cherries can take on other pathways for relieving pain or acting as an antioxidant. Looking at the comparison chart of phytonutrients below, you can see that tart cherries have many more pathways than other superfruits and antioxidant-rich berries.

phytochemicals in tart cherry | NutriGardens

Source: The Red Report

What are the best varieties of cherries for runners?

What are the best varieties of cherries for runners? | NutriGardens

Tart cherries are high in anthocyanins and give athletes and runners that competitive edge by increasing endurance performance and maximal oxygen consumption, which lowers exhaustive effects. So before you head out and grab the sweet varieties most common in the market (Rainier, Bing, etc.), you want to source the tart varieties. 

What are the best ways to take tart cherries?

Juice and powder forms are the best, but you can also consume fresh tart cherries, though it will take quite a lot to reach the same level of efficacy from juices. So if you’re after quick benefits, go for the juice. If you like convenience and predictability, you can consistently use a measured concentrated juice powder to load up on tart cherry benefits. 

Pre-recovery tart cherry + Beet Boost drink

How do you start boosting with tart cherries now? Athletes love Beet Boost with Tart Cherry. The best way to take it is with 1 Scoop Beet Boost and some orange juice or pineapple juice. Antioxidant-rich orange juice helps amplify your nitric oxide production, which runners and athletes love. You can drink your Beet Boost 2 hours before performance and see the performance and recovery benefits take place.

Runners and athletes love Beet Boost because it contains tart cherry extract to quickly and effectively tackle inflammation and muscle recovery while supercharging stamina with beetroot powder. In addition, beets give performance enhancement in the form of nitrate upsurge to increase nitric oxide production. You can pick up tart cherry powdered Beet Boost at our shop to amp up your performance, workouts, results, and recovery. Cherry cheers!

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