LANSING, Mich.— Summer is fast approaching and travelers are preparing for their big trips of the year, across the country and around the world. Business and leisure travelers are focused on packing smart, remembering passports and checking in early at the airport. But they could be overlooking the important role diet plays in travel success. According many experts, travelers can pack “the power of red” into their carry-ons by choosing tart cherries, a “Super Fruit” naturally rich in melatonin, to help fight jet lag.(1)

Cherries, known for their powerful antioxidant and phytonutrient profile, are linked to potential health benefits in numerous studies. They are one of the few known, researched food sources of melatonin, a potent antioxidant produced naturally by the body to help regulate biorhythm and natural sleep patterns.

“Dried cherries are one of my favorite travel snacks,” says adventure guru, travel expert and renowned “Adventuregirl” blogger, Stephanie Michaels. “Not only are they delicious, but they’re also super portable. Mix them with walnuts, another melatonin-rich food, and you’ve got a great trail mix that may help you sleep better and re-set your body clock, so you’re ready to go when you land.”

According to Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D, one of the world’s leading authorities on melatonin, cherries are believed to be one of the most concentrated food sources of melatonin. The body of research conducted by Reiter at the University of Texas Health Science Center revealed that a handful of cherries contain more melatonin than what is normally found in the blood, helping your body get in sync with the new time zone while you travel. “Travelers will often consume melatonin supplements to help regulate their sleep-wake cycle during long-haul flights,” said Reiter. “But choosing cherries may be a natural alternative.”

Studies suggests melatonin works best when consumed one hour prior to the desired sleep time on the plane and for three or more consecutive evenings after arrival, depending on the number of time zones crossed.

Don’t Get Jet Lagged: Fuel Up with Stefanie’s Top Tips Security lines and baggage fees may only be half the battle when it comes to traveling. Packing the right foods and beverages can be key to helping you avoid jet lag and making the most of your summer adventures. Some of Stefanie’s top tips include:

1. Hydrate. Make sure to stay hydrated while flying, with non-caffeinated or non-alcoholic beverages. Purchase a bottle of water in the terminal to avoid becoming thirsty.

2. Fuel up with RED.Eat foods rich in melatonin, like tart cherries, to regulate the natural sleep cycle and ease jet lag – helping to restore normal sleeping patterns in weary travelers.

3. Grab-and-go. Prepare for delays with convenient, portable snacks. Pre-packing a trail mix with dried cherries, favorite dried cereal, chocolate chips and nuts can be a life-saver when stuck in the terminal. It’s a healthier option than fast-food; just as quick but even better for you.

With year-round availability as dried, frozen and juice, it’s easy to incorporate cherries into your daily routine. Visit to learn more simple and tasty way to pack the power of red into your next travel adventure.

The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) is an organization funded by North American tart cherry growers and processors. CMI’s mission is to increase the demand for tart cherries through promotion, market expansion, product development and research. For more information on the science supporting the unique health benefits of cherries and for cherry recipes and menu ideas, visit

(1) Rodriguez MI, Carretero M, Escames G, Lopez LC, Maldonado MD, Tan DX, Reiter RJ, Acuna-Castroviejo D. Chronic melatonin treatment prevents age-depended cardiac mitochondrial dysfunction in senescence-accelerated mice. Free Radical Research. 2007;41:15-24.

SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute