How to Incorporate Tart Cherries into Endurance Training
The buzz around Montmorency tart cherries is getting louder in the community of endurance sports nutrition after several studies have shown favorable outcomes. The research suggests Montmorency tart cherry juice has a role in preventing symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage and pain by helping to reduce inflammation similar to the effects of common pain medications.
The fruit’s powerful compounds called anthocyanins, also responsible for Montmorency tart cherries’ deep red color, provide the anti-inflammatory benefits these studies have observed. It’s easy to “recover with red.” Tart cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen or juice forms that you can find in most grocery stores. Most of the studies have focused on Montmorency tart cherry juice — two servings a day prior to an event, as well as afterwards. However, I recommend finding various ways to add Montmorency tart cherries throughout the day to help reduce exercise-related soreness and speed recovery.
Here are some ideas to incorporate Montmorency tart cherries into your meals, snacks, and your exercise pre-fuel and recovery.
Snack/Exercise Pre-Fuel and Recovery
Recovery Gummies – Make your own energy gels or sports chews by mixing Montmorency tart cherry juice, unflavored gelatin and honey. These Recovery Gummies are easy to pop mid-workout.
Graham Crackers – Spread two graham crackers with your favorite nut butter and top with dried Montmorency tart cherries for a nutrient-packed snack.
Energy Bites – These Hemp Cherry Energy Bites are great workout pre-fuel because of their carbohydrate content, plus they contain heart-healthy fats as an added bonus.
Chia Pudding – Tart cherries and juice, chia seeds, and coconut milk come together to make this decadent-tasting Tart Cherry Chia Pudding. It makes a great snack or dessert.
Chocolate Cherry Drink – The ideal post-exercise snack should have both carbohydrates and protein to replenish what you used while you were working out. This chocolate cherry recipe has both, and it helps you rehydrate as well.
Take Shots – No, not tequila shots. Instead “shoot” Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate for a quick post-workoutpick-me up. You can also mix the juice concentrate with water, add it to smoothies, and mix it with frozen Montmorency tart cherries or other fruits.
Breakfast Tacos – These Tart Cherry Salsa Breakfast Tacos make a perfect weekend breakfast or brunch. Creamy scrambled eggs and sharp cheddar cheese are folded into corn tortillas and topped with a sweet-spicy cherry salsa, making a balanced, protein-rich dish.
Oatmeal – Add a handful of dried Montmorency tart cherries to your favorite hot cereal and top with toasted almonds and cinnamon. Tart cherries are also a wonderful addition to cold cereal or granola.
Smoothies – I love smoothies for breakfast, and this Red Recharger Smoothie is no exception! It’s made with frozen Montmorency tart cherries, Montmorency tart cherry juice, strawberries, and yogurt. This also makes a great post-workout recovery snack.
Sandwiches and Wraps – Dried cherries are wonderful in pretty much any chicken, tuna, or salmon salad. Make your favorite wholesome recipe and toss ¼ – ½ cup of dried Montmorency tart cherries into the mix.
Couscous Salad – I love this Confetti Couscous Salad with Dried Cherries, especially in the warm summer months. It’s healthy, satisfying, and loaded with delicious Montmorency tart cherries.
Pizza – Dried cherries make a tasty addition to pizzas and flatbreads. Try them with arugula and prosciutto or ham for a wonderful combination of tart, salty, and spicy.
Roasted Veggies – Roast your favorite vegetables with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Remove the veggies from heat and then toss in ½ – ¾ cup of dried Montmorency tart cherries, and serve.
Burgers and Turkey Burgers – For extra-special burgers or turkey burgers, add 1/4 cup diced dried Montmorency tart cherries, ¼ diced onion, salt, and pepper to 1 pound of extra lean ground beef or ground turkey breast. Form patties and grill until completely cooked.
Pasta – This Cherry Basil Orzo Pasta is great for a crowd. It’s quick, simple, and the recipe can easily be doubled if needed. Serve it with a green salad for a light meal, or add some grilled chicken or fish for something more substantial.
Now that I’ve shared my favorite ways to “Recover with Red” I want to hear yours. Do you ever use Montmorency tart cherries to help with muscle recovery?