Drinking black cherry juice is a delicious way to stay hydrated. It also gives you some health-boosting nutrients.
Black cherry, also called wild cherry, rum cherry, mountain black cherry, or American black cherry, is a dark black-purple fruit. Prunus serotina is native to North America, with a natural range from the southeastern part of Canada, south throughout the eastern United States, and west into Texas. It grows naturally throughout Mexico and Central America,too.
Black cherry has long been used for timber and furniture, and also medicinally. Native American peoples throughout North and Central America consumed both the bark and the fruit to treat cough and cold symptoms.
The fruits are bitter when underripe, but soften to a mild yet sweet taste when ripe. Unlike sweet cherries (prunus avium), black cherries aren’t commonly eaten raw. Instead, they’re most often used as ingredients and flavorings in jams, jellies, and, of course, juices.
Today, people drink black cherry juice as a medicinal supplement. You'll see it most often as a herbal supplement in health food stores, but you can enjoy it as a refreshing beverage anytime.
Black cherries and black cherry juices offer several health benefits, but one of the most common is antioxidant protection.
Black cherry juice and fruit has a high amount of anthocyanins. This compound is what gives the fruit its dark coloration, but also acts as protective antioxidants, helping your body cells avoid the damage of oxidative stress.
Lowers Risk of Chronic Diseases
Cherries also have a good amount of other polyphenols like p-coumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, and quercetin. Polyphenols help with reducing inflammation, supporting brain function, and improving memory and learning abilities.
A combination of anthocyanins, quercetin, and other nutrients help to reduce inflammation, especially inflammation related to arthritis and gout. These phytochemicals also work to lower uric acid levels in the body, reducing your risk of painful gout attacks and stiff joints.
Improves Sleep Quality
Melatonin is a natural hormone your body makes to regulate your sleeping and waking cycles. Too little melatonin can cause restless nights and daytime drowsiness, putting your cycles out of alignment. Both cherries and cherry juice contain natural melatonin, which can help you sleep better.
Black cherry juice has nearly the same nutritional makeup as black cherry fruit, but it does have more calories and a higher sugar content. This is because the juice is in a more concentrated form. The good news is that you can still enjoy black cherries and black cherry juice in moderation, even if you're watching your sugar intake.
Black cherries may have more natural sugars, but they have a fairly low glycemic index. This means that the sugars in black cherries don't affect blood sugar levels as much as those in fruits with a higher glycemic index.
The juice and fruit have good nutritional value as well. Black cherry juice contains a variety of nutrients that can support your health:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
- Folic Acid (B9)
Nutrients per Serving
One 8-ounce glass of pure black cherry juice contains:
- Calories: 140
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 26 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 22 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
- Sodium: 0 milligrams
Drinking too much black cherry juice could cause digestive upset and diarrhea. You should limit your intake to one 8-ounce glass a day.
How to Use Black Cherry Juice
When you purchase black cherry juice, make sure it is 100% pure juice with no added sugar. Read the ingredients list and look for cherries and water, with few to no other ingredients.
You can also buy juice concentrate, but you need to dilute the liquid with water to avoid an upset stomach. Read the label to see how much water you'll need to add for each amount of juice concentrate. Black cherry juice makes a refreshing drink on its own, or it can be used in cocktails and other beverages.