The immense benefits of tart cherry juice have led to its popularity in recent times. Sour cherries, also known as Montmorency, dwarf or sour cherries, are similar to sweet cherries, but slightly sour. Unlike sweet cherries, which are usually eaten fresh, sour cherries are enjoyed in various forms such as dried, frozen, powdered or juiced. Its juice is packed with antioxidants and essential nutrients.
The majority of tart cherries are used in baking and cooking, while some tart cherry products are marketed for specific health purposes. People often use them to relieve muscle soreness after exercise and to promote better sleep. Let us further explore the remarkable health benefits of tart cherry juice in more detail.
Tart cherry juice nutrition Value
In a 100-gram portion of tart cherry juice, you can find various essential nutrients (1).
- Energy: 59 kcal
- Protein: 0.31 grams
- Fat: 0.54 grams
- Carbohydrates: 13.7 grams
- Sugar: 12.2 grams
In addition, tart cherry juice is a good source of important minerals such as:
- Magnesium: 11 mg
- Calcium: 13 mg
- Phosphorus: 17 mg
- Potassium: 161 mg
- Iron: 0.42 mg
- Zinc: 0.03 mg
It also contains important vitamins such as:
- Vitamin B1: 0.06 mg
- Vitamin B2: 0.037 mg
These vitamins and minerals contribute to the many potential health benefits associated with tart cherry juice.
10 Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients. Unlike sweet cherry juice, it may have higher levels of certain beneficial nutrients. The bright red color of sour cherries distinguishes them from sweet varieties with a deeper hue. It is generally considered safe for most people, making it a simple but valuable addition to your diet. Let’s see the reasons why you should include tart cherry juice in your meal plan.
1. Reduces Muscle damage
For those who love to be active, consuming tart cherry juice is the way to go. Many scientific studies have shown their ability to reduce muscle soreness and increase muscle strength (2).
In addition, tart cherry juice concentrate and supplements can even increase muscle strength, reduce muscle breakdown, muscle soreness, and help speed recovery after strength training. It’s a natural way to feel better after exercise (4).
2. Improves sleep quality
If you have trouble sleeping, then tart cherry juice may be the solution you need for a better night’s sleep. Studies show that it can increase sleep time and efficiency for people with insomnia.
The secret lies in sour cherry juice, which increases the availability of tryptophan, an amino acid that turns into serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that lifts your mood and helps regulate sleep. Plus, serotonin can eventually be converted into melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle and is often used to treat insomnia (5).
3. Fights inflammation
Tart cherry juice contains anthocyanins. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that can be beneficial in the treatment of chronic conditions.
In a scientific study, tart cherry extract significantly reduced inflammatory biomarkers commonly seen in chronic diseases, making it promising for arthritis sufferers. Research showed that tart cherries can provide relief by reducing stiffness and discomfort in conditions such as arthritis and other such joint pains (6).
4. Potential relief of arthritis symptoms
Researchers have studied the effect of tart cherry juice on gout, a type of arthritis that causes swelling and intense pain. Drinking tart cherry juice has been shown to lower blood levels of uric acid, which can trigger gout when present in large amounts (7), (8).
In addition, regular consumption of fresh cherries or tart cherry juice may be associated with a reduced risk of both the frequency and severity of gout attacks.
5. Strengthens the immune system
Cherries, like other fruits and vegetables, are loaded with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are excellent for boosting your immune system. Tart cherries, in particular, are thought to be particularly effective at preventing infections due to their high content of antioxidants, including flavonoids, which help fight infections.
A study of Montmorency cherry juice even showed that after a marathon, those who consumed it had fewer stress, immunity and inflammation markers compared to the placebo group. The tart cherry juice drinkers also experienced no upper respiratory symptoms or infections, while half of the placebo group did (3).
6. Fights oxidative damage
The main benefit of tart cherry juice lies in its antioxidant content. It is beneficial in reducing oxidative stress. This oxidative stress is associated with various chronic diseases and premature aging (9).
Researchers have found that tart cherry juice improves antioxidant defenses in older adults, making them better able to deal with oxidative challenges and reducing oxidative damage. Antioxidants such as anthocyanins in sour cherries can directly neutralize free radicals by donating electrons and thus protect against oxidative damage (9).
7. Brain health benefits
Tart cherries and their juice have plenty of antioxidants and other such beneficial plant compounds that can protect brain cells. These antioxidants may be useful in fighting degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which are linked to oxidative stress (10).
In one study, older adults who drank tart cherry juice for 12 weeks showed higher memory scores and better performance in learning tasks compared to those who had a placebo (11).
8. Supports healthy blood pressure
Drinking tart cherry juice may lower your blood pressure slightly. Tart cherries are full of powerful antioxidants like proanthocyanins, anthocyanins and flavonols. These plant compounds help reduce systolic blood pressure (12). In addition, tart cherries also contain potassium, which can keep your blood pressure healthy and reduce the risk of stroke (12).
9. Possible anti-cancer properties
Tart cherry juice contains antioxidants such as anthocyanins that may affect cancer-related genes (13). However, direct testing in humans is still required, and further high-quality research is needed to confirm this potential benefit.
10. Helps with weight loss
Tart cherry juice won’t make you lose weight overnight, but it can support your weight loss efforts. In a 2009 animal study, tart cherry powder was found to reduce weight, belly fat, and blood cholesterol levels (14). However, further human research is needed to prove this.
Side effect of tart cherry juice
If you want to reap the benefits of tart cherry juice, you should consider following the dosage used in the studies, which is about 480 ml per day (3), (9). Otherwise, it may lead to the following potential side effects.
1. Interact with other medications
Tart cherries are rich in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant compounds. In particular, it has compounds such as quercetin that can interact with certain drugs, especially blood thinners (15). So talk to your doctor before taking it.
2. Sugar content
Tart cherries also have natural sugar, and some branded fruit juices may also have added sugar. If you have diabetes or high blood sugar levels, be careful with tart cherry juice with added sugar (16). Instead, you can choose unsweetened organic tart cherry juice or capsule supplements that provide the same benefits.
3. Stomach problems
While tart cherry juice is generally safe, it contains sugary compounds like sorbitol and fructose, which can cause stomach pain and diarrhea in some people (17).
4. Be careful with allergies
Certain people may have allergic reactions to cherries, especially those who are allergic to birch pollen. These people may be extra sensitive to certain types of cherries (18).
The health benefits of tart cherry juice are wide-ranging due to its high antioxidant properties. This includes anthocyanins and flavonoids, which can help fight oxidative stress, reduce inflammation and help prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Additionally, tart cherry juice has shown promising effects on muscle soreness, sleep quality, arthritis, blood pressure levels, and brain health. However, it is important to consider individual factors such as drug interactions, sugar content and potential allergic reactions when incorporating tart cherry juice into your diet.
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