Tart Cherry Juice: It’s Worth the Squeeze
You might pucker at the sound of it, but your body is smiling. With a variety of health benefits, drinking even one or two glasses of tart cherry juice week can make a difference.
To start, tart cherry juice concentrate is high in ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units—these values are used to measure and score the antioxidant capacity of foods. Tart cherry juice comes in at 12,800 units while pomegranate juice is sitting at 5,923 units, for example.
But that’s not all; from insomnia to belly fat, this infrequently-sipped juice can help you from the inside out. See why it should be a mainstay in your refrigerator.
Beat Belly Fat
All those hours in the gym and you still can’t get your body where you want it to be. Perhaps it’s because you’re not drinking enough tart cherry juice. In a study by the University of Michigan, mice were fed two different diets, and one group was also supplemented with tart cherry powder (similar properties to tart cherry juice).
Those who noshed on the cherry powder had reduced cholesterol—by 11 percent—after 12 weeks. It was also found that their body fat levels were at 54 percent, while the other non-cherry group was at 63 percent.
Reduce Post-Workout Soreness
That pain you feel when walking down a set of stairs after an especially hard workout is from muscle inflammation. Tart cherry juice is rich in a unique flavonoid called anthocyanin, which is important during the inflammation process. While this particular flavonoid is found in a variety of other deep-colored fruits like berries, it’s the specific anthocyanins, types 1 and 2, which make tart cherries the most effective.
Other research from Michigan State University found that types 1 and 2, commonly referred to as COX 1 and COX 2 are also found in some pain medications—so if you’re sick of ibuprofen or other pain-reducing over-the-counter pills, stock up on tart cherry juice instead.
It’s also important to note that these same flavonoids make sipping tart cherry juice an effective method for reducing pain associated with arthritis, osteoporosis and gout.
Tart cherries are one of the only foods that have naturally occurring melatonin, an important antioxidant for regulating the circadian rhythms, which ultimately dictate your natural sleeping habits. Melatonin is only found in small quantities in the your body, so even a small amount can make a difference if you have trouble sticking to a healthy sleep schedule or struggle with insomnia.
Tart cherries are high in the flavonoid quercitin, which is considered one of the most powerful “anticancer agents.” But that’s not all….these little red fruits are also rich in ellagic acid, an anti-carcinogenic plant phenolic: “Some researchers say that ellagic acid may be the most effective way to prevent cancer.”
Before you go gobbling up every bottle of cherry juice you can find, check each and every label. Commercial juices are likely filled with high fructose corn syrup and “natural flavors” that are anything but. Check the juice aisle for organic brands like Lakewood Organic or R.W. Knudsen Family Organic, which are made from whole fruit and nothing more. When you have the right kind, you can start reaping the benefits, whether you want to sleep better or shed those last few pounds.