11 Science-Based Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice can be a popular beverage for health conscious shoppers for its taste and its perceived health benefits. Most will choose this fruit juice as an alternative to soft drinks or other common drinks like milk or artificially sweetened drinks. It is also praised for containing many of the substantial health benefits of the cherries its made from. But does tart juice deliver on the health claims its buyers make, which include increased fat burning, improved heart health and a healthier immune system?
Below, the health benefits of tart cherry juice are reviewed to see if this juice really is a healthier drink than its fizzy counterparts and if it should be a first choice for health conscious shoppers.
11 Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
1. Tart Cherry Juice Can Help Fight Arthritis
One of the most unique benefits of tart cherry juice is its ability to help fight arthritis and ease it’s symptoms (1). This is due to powerful antioxidants such as anthocyanins and flavonoids that cherry juice contains, which can help fight inflammation and reduce pain.
To obtain the arthritis fighting benefits of cherry juice, the research shows that around two servings of tart cherry juice should be drank consistently each day.
This is a significant and unique benefits for tart cherry juice, particularly for older individuals who commonly suffer from osteoarthritis, or for people affected by rheumatoid arthritis and offers an easy and low cost way of helping reduce discomfort.
2. Tart Cherry Juice Can Protect Against Muscle Damage
Another benefit of the anti-inflammatory nutrients tart cherry juice contains is in helping reduce muscle damage from strenuous exercise. This was shown in a study where college student athletes drank two 12 ounce servings of tart cherry juice while completing strength training.
These athletes found soreness was reduced by nearly 25% and strength levels were maintained by up to 96% after strenuous workouts, whereas those who didn’t take in the cherry juice experienced greater soreness and a 22% decrease in strength levels in subsequent workouts (2).
This same benefits was shown in runners, who experienced less muscle soreness after taking in tart cherry juice and greater comfort in subsequent training sessions (3).
Regardless of the type of activity or training that is being undertaken, tart cherry juice can be a useful addition to an athlete’s diet and can help improve long term performance and help adaptation to exercise, as well as improving comfort.
3. Tart Cherry Juice May Protect Against Cancer
Some of the nutrients found in cherries have been shown to have a protective effect against cancer cells (4). These nutrients are also present in tart cherry juice but a greater amount of juice may need to be consumed to obtain the same benefits as their solid food form.
A general recommended dose would be 2-3 servings of cherry juice per day to obtain the protective effects of the anthocyanins and flavonoids.
Regardless of dose, cherry juice can offer an easier way to get cherries into the diet and help prevent cancer risk, which is a significant problem for all types populations.
4. Tart Cherry Juice Can Improve Heart Health
Both the high level of potassium and a nutrient called quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant, are a reason that cherries and cherry juice is a great beverage for improving heart health.
This is because potassium has been shown to help improve heart function and help reduce the risk of arrhythmia and heart problems (5). Along with this, quercetin has also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help improve heart health and reduce the buildup of plaque (6).
With it’s positive effect on arthritis and heart health, cherry juice is a natural choice for middle aged and older individuals but are also a useful choice for those looking to help protect their heart health and overall well-being.
5. Tart Cherry Juice Can Help Boost The Immune System
Due to the high level of Vitamin C, coupled with the anthocyanins help reduce inflammation and fight off infection (7). This, along with other fruit intake, has been shown consistently in research to help improve immune system function and health (8).
Tart cherry juice thus offers another easy way to take extra fruit and obtain the benefits to the immune system as well as the benefits mentioned above.
6. Cherry Juice Can Reduce Inflammation and Swelling
The anti-inflammatory properties of cherries and cherry juice have also been shown to be effective in decreasing swelling that are common in injuries (9).
This can help speed up healing and reduce rehabilitation time when injuries occur, which can be useful for both athletes and general populations and makes cherry juice a useful beverage to consume when suffering from an injury and associated inflammation or swelling.
7. Tart Cherry Juice May Help Prevent Fat Storage
Along with offering benefits to heart health directly, cherries have also been shown to decrease fats in the blood and fat storage in some studies (10).
This not only helps heart health indirectly but also helps prevent a wide range of health problems associated with obesity and helps improve physique, which, when considering the beneficial effect on strength and recovery from exercise, cherry juice offers an ideal beverage to include in a diet when undertaking a weight loss program.
This is another unique benefit of cherry juice that is not seen with other fruit juices and gives an advantage when looking for a superior fruit juice to help improve health.
8. Tart Cherry Juice Can Promote Better Sleep Quality
Cherries and cherry juice contain melatonin, which a hormone primarily associated and implicated in sleep (11). Along with a rich carbohydrate content, these are possible key reasons as to why cherry consumption has been shown to help improve sleep and fight insomnia (12). It is also used to help fight jet lag and regulate sleep.
With insomnia being a common issue in many people’s lives, and jet lag a frequent problem for those who travel regularly, as well as the abundance of health benefits that are both predicated and associated with sleep (13), this is one of the biggest advantages of cherries and cherry juice.
If sleep improvement or fighting jet lag is a goal, cherry juice can be an effective addition to the diet to help boost sleep and improve health.
9. Tart Cherry Juice Can Improve Digestion
Because of the insoluble fiber content in cherries, which are also available in cherry juice, it is an effective addition to the diet for improving digestion and nutrient absorption. This can help prevent constipation and improve the nutrition value of meals.
This benefit encourages the addition of other nutrient rich foods and can help improve their benefits to further boost health wellness.
10. Tart Cherry Juice Prevents Free Radical Damage
Cherries contain up to 17 antioxidants, all of which contribute towards the protection against free radical damage. it also wards off oxidative stress that could cause disease and speed up aging.
Tart cherries have long been studied for by independent laboratories as well as certain universities such as the University of Texas and Michigan State University. It has been found to have the highest antioxidant potency out of all the fruits and vegetables tested. The ORAC test (oxygen radical absorption capacity test) quantifies the antioxidant capabilities of foods or how powerful they are. Tart cherry juice concentrate ranks number 1, with dried tart cherries ranked number 2. (14)
11. Tart Cherry Juice May Lower Blood Pressure
Researchers found that in men who had been diagnosed with hypertension and had a higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems, drinking 60ml of tart cherry juice concentrate resulted in 7% lower blood pressure after three hours. Sustained reduction of this magnitude is linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease and lower risk of stroke by at least 23%. (15)
Even though water is still the ultimate health drink, tart cherry juice offers a host of health benefits that make it a viable alternative, if not a valuable addition to one’s choice of beverages. Packing flavor and a multitude of nutrients, tart cherry juice can do everything from promoting heart health to reducing free radical damage.