There are many benefits in tart cherry juice, which health-seeking people should know. Tart cherry is a fruit that is native to European and some Asian countries. It is different from Bing cherries and is sourer compared to common table cherry varieties, which makes the bright red fruit less popular to eat as a fresh fruit. Therefore, tart cherries are usually used as ingredients in meat dishes, soups, and desserts. Among all the kinds of eating methods, tart cherry juice is especially popular, and is widely used as a health supplement because of its potential health benefits.
Nutrition Facts of Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice benefits come from the various antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals it contains. Furthermore, it does not have cholesterol or fat although it is rich in carbohydrates. Tart cherry juice is rich in vitamins A and C as well as potassium. Studies show that eating vitamin A and C rich foods improves immune system function, enhances wound healing, and improves your vision in low light conditions. In addition, studies suggest that consuming potassium-rich foods helps lower blood pressure and decreases one's risk of developing kidney stones.
The natural antioxidant called anthocyanins is found in red, blue, and purple-colored fruits such as tart cherries. This is important because diets enriched with antioxidants have been associated with reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Tart cherries are also known to contain flavones, or antioxidants, which improve brain and heart health, blood flow, and blood pressure.
According to national dietary guidelines, one cup of the juice contains 78 kcalories, 1.5 grams protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 13 g sugar, 15.5 mg vitamin C, 2.5 g fiber, and 0.5 g fat. King Orchards, Michigan states that one tablespoon of its juice concentrate contains only 110 calories, 280 mg potassium, 20 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrates, 21 g sugar, 1 g protein and no fat or cholesterol.
Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
There are many tart cherry juice benefits including:
1. Circadian Rhythm Benefits
Tart cherries Juice is a natural supply of melatonin, a brain hormone that helps regulate your body's circadian rhythm or internal clock. This substance provides an effective remedy for insomnia. A study in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that taking tart cherry juice supplements improves sleep duration, and promotes the ability to fall asleep and to remain asleep. Investigators conclude that this juice may be useful for improving one's sleep quality and for treating sleep disorders.
2. Anti-Oxidant Benefits
Tart cherry Juice possesses antioxidant benefits from five specific anthocyanins, according to researchers from the University of Michigan. These antioxidants are easily absorbed in your bloodstream and antioxidant levels remain elevated several hours after they are consumed. Another study found that tart cherry juice consumption provides older adults more protection from developing heart disease, age-related mental decline, and cancer.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Research shows that anthocyanins from tart cherries may reduce inflammation and joint pain. An animal study shows that doses of anthocyanins at 400 mg per kilo of body weight produces anti-inflammatory benefits similar to the prescription drug indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Researchers suggest that most of the benefits of tart cherries may attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of anthocyanins.
4. Exercise Recovery
Muscles recover faster after exercise after taking tart cherry juice concentrate, as shown by a study involving long distance runners. Researchers found that regular consumption of the juice concentrate improved the runners' strength and reduced inflammation, oxidized lipid levels, and recovery time after a marathon. They believe that tart cherry juice antioxidant effects improved muscle recovery after strenuous exercise. This study was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.
5. Blood Sugar Regulation
Tart cherry juice concentrate has been found to have metabolic benefits, which include improved blood sugar, cholesterol, and insulin levels, according to the National College of Natural Medicine. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food shows that anthocyanins derived from tart cherries influence gene control over the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. In the study, a high-fat diet supplemented with 1% tart cherry led to reduced cholesterol levels, abdominal fat, and inflammation. Researchers therefore concluded that tart cherries help decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease.
6. Weight Control
Another benefit of tart cherries is put forward by a study from the University of Michigan in the Journal of Medicinal Food, suggesting that tart cherries help control weight and prevent metabolic syndrome. This condition is a combination of signs and symptoms that include obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. However, experts warn that tart cherry juice is high in sugar so it must be taken in moderation.
7. Gout Relief
Gout, a type of arthritis that affects middle-aged and older men and women, has been shown to be relieved in a similar way by pain relievers, prescription drugs, and tart cherry juice. According to researchers from the University of Maryland Medical Center, tart cherry juice lowers uric acid levels and prevents gout attacks. They suggest drinking 6 - 12 ounces of tart cherry juice daily to relieve pain and inflammation.
8. Cancer Protection
Carcinogens or harmful substances found in food and the environment may damage cells of your body and trigger changes leading to cancer. Aside from anthocyanins, tart cherry juice is loaded with chemicals that fight disease and may be helpful in halting cell alterations that often lead to the development of cancer. The powerful chemicals include limonene, ellagic acid, and perillyl alcohol. While citrus fruit peelings offer limonene and berries provide ellagic acid, tart cherries contain all these chemicals. These fruits particularly protect against cancers of the lung, breast, skin, and liver.
9. Cholesterol Control
Tart cherry juice is a good source of quercetin, one of the most potent antioxidants. Among its other functions, quercetin prevents the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals from low-density lipoprotein ("bad" cholesterol). When oxidized, bad cholesterol adheres to artery walls, forms plaques, and leads to heart attacks and strokes. In addition, quercetin is a known anti-inflammatory agent, which helps alleviate symptoms of asthma and other respiratory disorders.
10. Extra Muscle Protection
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed the effectiveness of tart cherry juice in preventing symptoms of muscle damage induced by exercise in college students. They found that 12 ounces of tart cherry juice taken twice a day for eight days was more effective than placebo in reducing pain and loss of strength.
Here's a video on how to make tart cherry juice quickly and easily: