Back in 2006, a report published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine indicated that drinking cherry juice might help to relieve those sore “weekend warrior” muscles. Researchers at the University of Vermont in Burlington ran a small study on muscle recovery. Participants drank either apple juice or a cherry-apple juice combination during a one-week exercise program.
The apple juice guzzlers had a 22 percent loss in muscle strength. But the cherry juicers had only a 4 percent loss in muscle strength, and actually gained muscle strength after 96 hours. Likewise, the cherry juice was more successful than the apple juice in pain reduction. The researchers believed that the exercise induced injuries may have been responding well to the high level of antioxidants in the juice.
Fast forward to 2010, when more studies began rolling in that honed in on tart cherry juice. One study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, found that marathoners who drank tart cherry juice five days before, on the day of, and 48 hours following their races reduced muscle soreness. The athletes also showed signs of improved muscle recovery and function.
Tart cherries are rich in antioxidant compounds, including flavonoids and anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that the researchers believed to be powerful in decreasing excess inflammation. And it looks like they might be right. A second study in 2010 on distance runners produced similar positive results to the marathon study. And finally a 2011 study found that tart cherry juice consumption improved the recovery of isometric muscle strength after intensive exercise.
But you don’t need to drink it straight up every day! To mix things up, grab some tart cherry juice and enjoy the dairy-free tart cherry juice recipes below.
Dairy-Free Tart Cherry Juice Recipes
All of the following delicious dairy-free and gluten-free recipes incorporate tart cherry juice. And they’re all packed with nutrition for a great post-workout sip or meal.
Tart Cherry Smoothie Bowls with Tart Cherry Granola
Both the smoothie bowl and homemade granola are sweetened solely with fruit and maple syrup.
Cherry Almond Milk
This sip can be enjoyed warm or cool, and has a mood-lifting bonus ingredient.
Chill Cherry Mango Smoothies
Just four ingredients in this simple, tummy-friendly recipe.
Warm Salmon and Cherry Arugula Salad
This nutritious meal is packed with both frozen tart cherries and tart cherry juice.
Cherries ‘n Cream Mojito Pops
These do have optional rum (which also keeps them from freezing up to solid), but you can enjoy them alcohol free.