Studies of long-distance runners indicate that tart cherries and tart cherry juice may ease inflammation and soothe sore muscles after a workout. “The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of cherries work like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen for reducing or preventing pain. However with cherries, you don’t have the risk of harmful side effects such as potential gastrointestinal, kidney and possible heart issues,” says Sedlacek.
Another study found that consuming a tart cherry powder supplement enhanced exercise performance in endurance runners. Runners who took the supplement for 10 days before a half-marathon had 13% faster race finish times than those who took a placebo. And they felt less achy afterward.