Tart or sour cherries are commonly used for medicinal purposes. You can likely find tart cherry juice at your local healthfood store in a ready-to-drink bottle or in concentrated form that you can then mix with water, add in a smoothie or take a tablespoon or two of plain.
Although tart cherries provide a unique set of benefits in comparison to regular sweet cherries, the scientific world is still in the midst of researching deeper into the relevant facts through animal and human studies alike. Here’s a look into what the research suggests at present.
Understanding the Possible Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherries can help decrease the uric acid and C-reactive protein in your body, effectively reducing swelling, tenderness and inflammation. Whether consumed in juice, pill or fruit form, tart cherries can decrease the discomfort caused by swollen joints for arthritis and osteoarthritis sufferers without presenting the side effects that come from traditional medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including Aleve, Advil and Aspirin.
Individuals who deal with gout may also be interested in trying out a cherry treatment. According to research, some patients suffering from gout received lower risks of flare-ups in as little as two days of eating cherries. Of course, results can vary from person to person.
Because one cup of tart cherry juice can notably reduce muscle inflammation and soreness, some turn to the red drink as a great post-workout solution for aiding the body’s recovery. Some exercisers also like to add protein powder directly into their cherry juice after a workout in order to combine the best of both worlds.
Tart cherries contain melatonin, which can help regulate sleep patterns and treat insomnia. Montgomery tart cherries, in particular, have been blended up and combined with apple juice for a special sleep-aiding cocktail. Research has shown some modest sleep pattern improvements for some participants who suffer from insomnia and drank eight ounces of such a fruit blend twice a day.
Protecting Your Heart Health and Weight Management Goals
The antioxidants and other compounds in tart cherry juice can actually help keep your heart, blood vessels and cholesterol in a healthy state, reducing your risks of cardiovascular disease and a multitude of other unwanted conditions. Tart cherry juice can even help prevent plaque from building up in your arteries and may be able to reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes.
In animal studies, rats who consumed whole tart cherry powder didn’t gain as much weight or have as much fat buildup as rats that didn’t receive cherries in their diets. Make sure to locate a tart cherry juice that is organic and contains no added sugars. Drinking a sweetened version with added calories is just going to distance you from reaching your diet and health goals.
Increasing Your Circulation
Disease-fighting anthocyanins, found in tart cherries and other red fruits alike, can actually help improve your circulation and nerve functions. The yummy sour beverage may actually be able to resist oxidative damage, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive declines. Hence, regularly drinking sour cherry juice as part of a healthy diet full of other red fruits and vegetables like raspberries, beets and red onions can help ensure your body’s proper functioning.
Tart cherry juice is packed with antioxidants and other cancer-preventing properties that can help keep your body strong and healthy. Antioxidants protect your body against free radicals, which can damage your nervous system and tissues and may even lead to the development of certain kinds of cancers.
Tart cherries can help increase your urine output and can help digestion at large. Drinking too much cherry juice, however, can have a negative effect on your body’s digestive capabilities so make sure to make small and gradual changes to your diet routine rather than dramatically incorporating multiple glasses a day all at once. For the best results, you will likely want to spread out your juice consumption throughout the day, as well, as opposed to drinking all of your daily needs in one sitting.
Flavoring Medications and Dietary Supplements
The pleasant taste of sour cherries is actually used in the manufacturing process to mask the unpleasant tastes of some medications. At home, you can also use tart cherry juice to improve the flavor of your health drinks and dietary supplements. Of course, we always need to be careful when mixing medications and herbal supplements. If you’re in doubt as to the safety of any given combination, don’t hesitate to consult with your pharmacist, physician or other healthcare professional in order to double check if your desired course of action seems dangerous at all.
Warnings Associated with Drinking Tart Cherry Juice
Looking Out for Cherry Stems
The fruit of tart cherries is generally accepted as safe, but some dietary juices and supplements actually contain tart cherry stems in the products as well. Because the FDA does not closely regulate the supplements industry, the safety of actually consuming the stems is not concretely known.
If you are interested in adding such a product into your regular routine, do your research on that particular brand and also consider talking to your doctor about the over-the-counter pick. If you do end up drinking a cherry juice or product with stems included, watch your body for warning signs and stop taking the juice if you suspect any adverse side effects.
Being Careful When You’re Pregnant or Nursing
Eating food amounts of sour cherries is generally considered safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, but consuming medicinal amounts of sour cherry juice may present unknown side effects for mothers and their unborn babies or nursing infants. A conservative approach is to wait until after you are finished nursing in order to incorporate into your life a cherry-related strategy for providing your body with medical benefits.
Recognizing Potential Interactions of Cherry Juice and Medications
If you are already taking a medication intended to treat a condition that you hope to alleviate through the inclusion of tart cherry juice in your diet, talk with your doctor about the possible need to alter your current prescription.
Some unrelated medications may also unexpectedly negatively interact with medicinal amounts of tart cherry juice so make sure to consult with your pharmacist or healthcare professional when making changes to your routine.