Tart cherries, also known as Montmorency or sour cherries, have become a big hit in the health and wellness scene in the recent years. Generally consumed dried or as a juice, these cherries provide an array of health benefits. The presence of natural melatonin and anthocyanins in this fruit gives it its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Read on to know more about the various tart cherry juice benefits on your health.
Tart Cherry Juice Benefits
Rich in nutrients
Tart cherry juice is rich in many beneficial nutrients. Tart cherries are much healthier as compared to sweet cherries. They contain 20 times more vitamin A and their antioxidant levels are five times higher. You should opt for the unsweetened variety of tart cherry juice to enjoy its full nutritional benefits.
One glass (240 ml) of tart cherry juice contains 119 calories and the following (1):
- Carbs: 28 grams
- Fibre: 5 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 62 % RDI
- Vitamin C: 40 % RDI
- Vitamin K: 7% RDI
- Manganese: 14 % RDI
- Potassium: 12% RDI
- Copper: 12% RDI
Can treat insomnia
According to researchers at Louisiana State University, you can add nearly 90 minutes to your sleep by drinking a glass of tart cherry juice every morning and evening.
Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Tart cherries also contain tryptophan and anthocyanins, which help the body create melatonin and lengthen its effects.
According to a study, when 20 volunteers were given tart cherry juice concentrate for seven days, it was discovered that it improved their sleep length and quality (2).
Another study was done on people with insomnia. The participants drank 480 ml of tart cherry juice or placebo juice every day for two weeks. Drinking cherry juice increased the sleep time of the participants by 85 minutes (3).
Promotes brain health
Oxidative stress can lead to cognitive disorder and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia. Tart cherry juice contains a large number of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds that lower oxidative stress (4).
In a study, 12 volunteers were given 240 ml of tart cherry juice twice daily. This study showed that tart cherry juice, which contains high levels of anthocyanins, improves the capacity of older adults to resist oxidative damage (5).
The anthocyanins present in the cherry tart juice helps patients with dementia to improve their cognitive function. According to a study done on patients with dementia for 12 weeks, consuming tart cherry juice improved their verbal fluency and memory (6).
Strengthens immune system
Tart cherry juice benefits your immune system by strengthening it. A robust immune system is essential for good health. Tart cherry juice contains some vitamins and minerals that are essential for enhancing the immune system.
The flavonoids, a type of antioxidant present in tart cherries, also help you fight infections in the body. According to research published in Biochemical Pharmacology, the flavonoids found in tart cherry juice help to strengthen the immune system.
According to a research, drinking tart cherry juice before and after a marathon reduces the incidence of upper respiratory tract infection in the runners (7).
Provides cancer protection
Tart cherry juice is rich in three disease-fighting chemicals – perillyl alcohol, limonene, and ellagic acid. They protect against cancer of lungs, breast, liver and skin. The anthocyanins present in cherry juice reduce cancer cell and tumour growth.
In a study done on mice, it was observed that tart cherry anthocyanins and cyaniding, might reduce the risk of colon cancer (8).
Helps fight heart disease
Quercetin, a powerful antioxidant present in the tart cherry juice, is very useful in fighting heart disease. According to a study published in European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Science, quercetin prevents oxidative damage to LDL or bad cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol is oxidised, it adheres to arteries and can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Quercetin also helps in lowering blood pressure. According to a study done by the University of Delaware, daily incorporation of tart cherry juice reduced systolic BP in older adults (9).
Protects against muscle damage
Tart cherry juice benefits physically active individuals as it prevents muscle damage and improves muscle strength. In a study, 54 healthy runners were given 710 ml of tart cherry juice or a placebo for seven days leading up to a race.
The runners who drank cherry juice experiences three times lesser pain as compared to those who had the placebo (10).
Another study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine tested tart cherry juice for its effectiveness in preventing the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage. It was observed that 12 ounces of tart cherry juice taken for eight days significantly reduced the pain and strength loss.
Tart cherry juice also helps in increasing muscle strength. During a study, a group of men were given tart cherry and placebo supplements for a few days before and after an intense training session. The group that had tart cherry supplement lost four percent less strength as compared to the placebo group.
The study found that powdered tart cherries are a useful supplement that reduces muscle soreness and strength decrement during recovery (11).
Reduces symptoms of arthritis and gout
Tart cherry juice has been used for relief from pain linked to arthritis and gout for a long time. During a study, 20 women drank 10.5-ounce bottles of tart cherry juice twice daily for 21 days. This study found that tart cherry juice reduced blood markers of inflammation in women with osteoarthritis (12).
Tart cherry juice is rich in both vitamin A and C. Drinking this juice reduces the uric acid levels in the blood. When present in very high concentrations, uric acid can trigger gout (13).
In a study, 633 individuals with gout were given cherries over a two-day period. This reduced their risk of a gout attack by 35 percent (14).
Tart cherry juice benefits obese people big time. According to a study published in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, anthocyanins present in cherries help prevent obesity.
Anthocyanins eliminate free radical toxins and other wastes out of the body, and this may promote weight loss.
According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, when a group of rats on a high-fat diet were fed tart cherries, their body fat, specifically belly fat came down.
Since tart cherry juice is higher in calories than the cherries themselves, so limit your intake for effective fat loss. Tart cherry juice also lowers cholesterol levels and regulates blood sugar levels in the body.
May help to fight diabetes
Tart cherries contain a chemical that boosts insulin and helps control diabetes. Researchers from Michigan State University research isolated anthocyanins from cherries and tested them on insulin-producing pancreatic cells of rats.
The cells increased their production of insulin by 50 percent. Further research needs to be done to see their effect in fighting diabetes in humans.
Side-effects of drinking Tart cherry juice
- Tart cherry juice is high in sorbitol which can cause diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.
- Since one cup of tart cherry juice contains 140 calories, we must consume it in moderation. Overconsumption can lead to weight gain.
- Tart cherry juice contains quercetin that may react with medicines like blood thinners. So, consult a doctor before you add large quantities of this juice to your diet.
Final words on tart cherry juice benefits
Tart cherry juice is highly nutritious and provides many health benefits. It has proved to be very useful in treating people suffering from insomnia. Regular intake of this juice is beneficial for physically active people as it protects against muscle damage. Take the unsweetened version of this juice to enjoy all its nutritional benefits.