Tart Cherry Juice: Is It Good for You?

Tart cherry juice is extracted from Montmorency cherries, also known as sour cherries. Tart cherries are a rich source of antioxidants. Recent medical research has suggested that they offer a range of health benefits from exercise recovery to better sleep. Although additional research is needed, tart cherry juice appears to improve overall health by reducing inflammation in the body.

Nutrition Information

One cup of tart cherry juice contains: 

  • Calories: 159
  • Protein: 0.8 gram
  • Fat: 1.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 36.9 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 32.8 grams

Tart cherry juice is a good source of: 

Tart cherry juice is also an excellent source of potassium. Studies have shown that potassium may help keep blood pressure in a healthy range and reduce the risk of stroke.

Potential Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. However, the same thing that makes tart cherry juice so potent can also create complications for people with certain medical conditions. 

Research has found a number of potential health benefits to drinking tart cherry juice: 

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Tart cherry juice contains anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory compounds that may help to combat some chronic diseases. In a randomized, placebo-controlled study, tart cherry juice significantly reduced inflammation biomarkers that are common in chronic diseases. 

These anti-inflammatory properties may provide needed relief for people with arthritis. Studies show that tart cherries can help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other joint pain disorders.

Exercise Recovery and Performance

Several studies have shown tart cherry juice to aid significantly in exercise recovery and muscle pain after exercise. In a randomized, placebo-controlled study, college athletes experienced reduced muscle pain and strength loss after exertion when drinking tart cherry juice twice a day for eight days.

In addition to helping aid recovery, tart cherry juice can also improve athletic performance. Research shows that it may enhance endurance exercise performance due to its low glycemic index (causes small, slow increase in blood sugar levels), anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative capacity (disease fighting), as well as blood flow enhancing effects.

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Better Sleep

If you experience insomnia, tart cherry juice may help you get a better night’s rest. The research shows that tart cherry juice increases sleep time and sleep efficiency for people with insomnia. This may be because tart cherry juice increases the bioavailability of tryptophan and increases your body’s production of melatonin.

Antioxidant Properties

Tart cherry juice may help to improve the oxidative stress on the body from aging. Studies in older adults show that tart cherry juice improves antioxidant defenses and reduces oxidative damage. Another randomized, controlled trial showed that tart cherry juice may improve cognitive abilities in older adults due to its antioxidant properties.

Potential Risks of Tart Cherry Juice

Because tart cherry juice has such potent ingredients, you should consult with your doctor before taking it or any other supplement. Consider the following before drinking tart cherry juice:

Sugar Content

Tart cherry juice contains sugar, and some brands may contain added sugars. If you have diabetes or another condition that affects blood sugar, you should speak to your healthcare provider before adding tart cherry juice to your diet. You can still reap the benefits of tart cherry through capsule supplements if drinking the juice is not recommended for you.

Medication Interactions

Tart cherry juice may interact with some medications. For example, medications used to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Speak to your healthcare provider if you are concerned about medication interactions with tart cherry juice.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 16, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Journal of Therapeutics: “Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms.”

Arthritis Foundation: “How Cherries Help Fight Arthritis.”

British Journal of Sports Medicine: “Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage.”

European Journal of Nutrition: “Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality.”

Food & Function: “Impact of tart cherry juice on systolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in older adults: a randomized controlled trial.”

Food & Function: “Effect of Montmorency tart cherry juice on cognitive performance in older adults: A randomized controlled trial.”

Food Function: “Authentic Tart Cherry Juice Reduces Markers of Inflammation in Overweight and Obese Subjects: a Randomized, Crossover Pilot Study.”

Harvard Medical School: “The importance of potassium.”

Journal of the American College of Nutrition: “Effect of Tart Cherry Concentrate on Endurance Exercise Performance: A Meta-analysis.”

The Journal of Nutrition: “Tart cherry juice decreases oxidative stress in healthy older men and women.”

McGill: “Are There Health Benefits to Tart Cherry Juice?”

USDA FoodData Central: “Cherry Juice, Tart.”

Nutrients: “Effects of Tart Cherry Juice on Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Older Adults.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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