7 health benefits of drinking tart cherry juice

Tart cherry juice not only tastes amazing, but offers a plethora of health benefits as well. Here are the benefits of tart cherry juice for health and its side effects.

Tart cherry juice has become increasingly popular in recent times due to its numerous health benefits. Tart cherries, also known as Montmorency, dwarf, or sour cherries, are similar to sweet cherries but slightly more acidic. Unlike sweet cherries, which are usually eaten raw, sour cherries can be consumed in various forms such as frozen, dried, powdered, or in the form of juice. Tart cherry juice is also packed with essential minerals and antioxidants that are beneficial for the body. Incorporating this organic and nutritious tart cherry juice into your daily routine is a good idea for your health. If you are intrigued to know the health benefits of tart cherry juice, let’s dive right into it.

What are the health benefits of tart cherry juice?

Here are some of the notable health benefits of tart cherry juice as explained by nutritionist, Twincy Ann Sunil.

1. Reduces inflammation

Tart cherries contain compounds such as anthocyanins and other antioxidants that possess anti-inflammatory properties, which help manage conditions like arthritis and muscle soreness, as per a study published in Nutrients MDPI journal.

Tips to reduce inflammation in body
Drinking tart cherry juice can help reduce inflammation. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Induces sleep

Tart cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Drinking tart cherry juice may help improve sleep quality and duration, making it beneficial for individuals with insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns.

3. Enhances exercise recovery

If you have muscle soreness, you can include tart cherry juice to address it. A study published in Wiley Scandinavian Journal of Medical and Science in Sports has suggested that tart cherry juice can help reduce muscle soreness. Tart cherries contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help alleviate exercise-induced muscle soreness and promote faster recovery.

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4. Promotes heart health

The antioxidants found in tart cherries may contribute to heart health by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation helping lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels, says Sunil.

5. Keeps joint pain at bay

Tart cherry juice may be good for people with joint pain. Research published in the Current Nutrient Development Journal indicates that tart cherry juice may effectively reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis and gout.

6. Rich in antioxidant properties

The antioxidant properties in tart cherries help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, reducing the damage caused by oxidative stress. It reduces the risk of diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.

7. Promotes brain health

Tart cherries are good for your brain as well! A study published in IMC Journal suggests that the antioxidants in tart cherries may have neuroprotective effects, potentially reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

How to prepare tart cherry juice?

Preparing tart cherry juice at home is a very simple task to do. Here’s a simple recipe to make tart cherry juice:

1. Wash the tart cherries thoroughly under cold water and remove the pits.
2. Place the pitted tart cherries in a blender or food processor.
3. Add 1-2 cups of water to the blender, depending on how thick or thin you want your juice to be. Start with adding a small amount of water and add more as needed to reach your desired consistency.
3. Blend the cherries and water until smooth.
4. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove pulp.
5. Taste the juice and adjust the sweetness level if desired.
6. You can serve the tart cherry juice immediately over ice or refrigerate it for later use.

Homemade tart cherry juice can typically be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Are there any side effects of tart cherry juice?

1. Gastrointestinal discomfort

Consuming large amounts of tart cherry juice may cause gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, or diarrhea in some individuals, particularly those with a sensitive stomach or underlying digestive conditions.

2. Allergic reactions

Some people may be allergic to cherries or have sensitivities to salicylates, a natural compound found in cherries. Allergic reactions to tart cherry juice can include symptoms such as itching, swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis in severe cases.

3. May react with other ingredients

Tart cherry juice may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners like warfarin, and drugs metabolized by the liver. Interactions can affect medication effectiveness or increase the risk of side effects.

4. Spike in blood sugar levels

Tart cherry juice contains natural sugars, and consuming large quantities of it may lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, particularly in individuals with diabetes or those who need to monitor their blood sugar levels closely.

5. May cause kidney stones

Tart cherry juice is high in oxalates, compounds that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. Drinking large amounts of tart cherry juice may increase the risk of kidney stone formation, especially in individuals with a history of kidney stones or kidney disease.

kidney stones with beer
Overconsumption of tart cherry juice can cause kidney stones. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Weight gain

Due to its natural sugar content, drinking tart cherry juice regularly in excessive amounts may contribute to weight gain, especially if not balanced with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

7. Pregnancy and breastfeeding

While tart cherry juice is generally safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women when consumed in moderation, it’s advisable to consult with a medical expert before adding it to the diet.

“It’s essential to consume tart cherry juice in moderation and be mindful of individual tolerance and potential side effects,” says the expert. If you experience any adverse reactions or have concerns about incorporating tart cherry juice into your diet, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional.