Many people are turning to tart cherry juice for their health needs, due to its rich supply of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Tart cherry juice is very beneficial for promoting good and sound sleep and at the same time also prevents gout. Its amazing list of benefits is also the reason why many athletes prefer tart cherry juice as a post-workout recovery boost!
What is Tart Cherry Juice?
Tart cherry juice is derived from tart cherries, a species of cherry scientifically known as Prunus cerasus that is native to certain parts of Asia and Europe, where it has been cultivated for centuries. You may also know this species by other common names, such as sour cherry, dwarf cherry, or Montmorency cherry. Unlike common cherries that you can find in most grocery stores, tart cherries are less popular as everyday groceries, due to their high acidity.
Tart cherry juice is often sold as a concentrate and is included in various dietary supplements, thanks to its unique antioxidant profile, combined with vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, quercetin, phenolic compounds, and even certain useful hormones. It is also rich in carbs, fiber, proteins, fat, manganese, potassium, and copper. The antioxidants it is most well-known for are anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting in nature. Calcium, iron, magnesium, and omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids are also present in this juice in smaller quantities.
Let’s have a look at the numerous health benefits of tart cherry juice.
Regulates Blood Pressure
One of the most important elements of tart cherry juice is quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant capable of reducing oxidative stress in many parts of the body, particularly in the cardiovascular system. This compound is linked to lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as blood pressure, all of which reduces strain on the heart and prevents conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Rich in Antioxidants & Prevents Cancer
In terms of cancer prevention, the anthocyanins found in tart cherry extracts are very important, considering they can remain active in the blood for up to 12 hours after ingestion. These antioxidants can reduce the impact of free radicals on various organ systems and lower oxidative stress. Free radicals can cause cellular mutation and increase your risk of various cancers, but the anthocyanins in this juice can prevent tumor formation. This is in addition to ellagic acid and limonene, two other cancer-fighting compounds found in this juice.
Anthocyanins are linked to increased levels of circulation, which is good news for the cardiovascular system. It also ensures that various areas of the body receive the oxygen and resources they need. This can also result in a stamina boost when you need it the most!
If you are interested in losing weight, one great strategy is to improve your metabolism, which the active ingredients and compounds in tart cherry juice are able to do. By reducing the deposition of abdominal fat, lowering cholesterol, boosting circulation, and preventing diabetes, tart cherry juice can significantly lower your risk for metabolic syndrome, which will aid in weight-loss efforts.
Promotes Muscle Growth
With its stimulating, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, this juice is popular for people who wish to speed their recovery from illness or a muscle injury. This juice is popular as a post-workout beverage for the same reasons.
One of the chemicals rarely talked about in tart cherry juice is melatonin, which is a critical hormone the body uses to regulate its circadian rhythms and induce sleep. For people who struggle with insomnia or regularly interrupted sleep, drinking a cup of this juice before bed can quickly ease you into a rejuvenating night’s sleep.
Treats Arthritis & Gout
As a general anti-inflammatory beverage, thanks to all of the unique antioxidants and chemicals, the tart cherry juice is able to soothe symptoms of arthritis, gout, headaches, and gastrointestinal distress. It can also help detoxify the body and reduce swelling from edema, thanks to the high levels of vitamin A and C found in this juice.
Due to its rich antioxidant content, tart cherry juice helps in preventing infections by boosting the overall immunity of the body.
Quercetin, the critical antioxidant in this juice, is directly connected to lower incidences of type 2 diabetes, as it can help to regulate the levels of insulin and glucose in your blood. This is not only important for people at risk of diabetes, but also for those trying to manage their blood sugar levels after being diagnosed.
Improves Brain Function
Research has revealed that tart cherry extract can lower oxidative stress that leads to cognitive disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia. The high levels of quercetin and anthocyanins are responsible for this brain-boosting ability.
How to Eat Tart Cherries?
There are many different ways to eat tart cherries, including the following:
- Tart cherries are usually eaten dried, frozen, or juiced.
- The cherries are commonly used in culinary applications, such as soups and meat dishes, and their extract is a popular element in desserts and candies.
- While drinking pure tart cherry juice isn’t the most popular option, since it is so acidic and sour, many people dilute this juice with water and take it on a daily basis for a nutritional boost.
How much to Drink in a Day?
To derive the benefits of tart cherry juice, you only need to drink 1 cup of this juice a day, as this can provide plenty of antioxidants to your body.
Some tart cherry juice brands may contain a high amount of sugar. To avoid a calorie overload, it’s better to consume the unsweetened variety.
However, it is safe to drink more than this, if desired, but moderation is key, given the potential side effects mentioned below. It is not recommended that you drink more than 4 cups of this powerful juice per day. Before adding a new element to your health regimen, especially one with so many unique chemicals and compounds, speak to your doctor about any of your specific risk factors.
- Weight gain: Tart cherry juice is high in nutrients, but it is also high in calories, at over 140 calories in a single cup. For people who are trying to lose weight, small amounts of this juice are acceptable. However, be sure to include this juice in your daily calorie intake.
- Bleeding: Some of the active ingredients in tart cherry juice, namely quercetin, is able to help thin the blood, which can protect against heart attacks and strokes. However, if you are already taking anti-coagulant medication, this combination can cause bleeding, particularly for people with pre-existing bleeding disorders. Do not drink this juice within a few days of having surgery.
- Gastrointestinal distress: This sour cherry beverage has a significant amount of sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol found in certain foods that can have a digestive effect, even acting as a laxative at times. However, in large quantities, and for those who have sensitive stomachs, this compound can cause cramping, bloating, discomfort, and diarrhea. Always drink tart cherry juice in moderation.
- Pregnancy: Although eating tart cherries has been deemed acceptable for pregnant and breastfeeding women, the higher concentrations of chemicals in tart cherry juice can potentially be dangerous to the baby, or even stimulate contractions, so it should be avoided.