Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie


Last Updated June 13th, 2021

What is tart cherry?

Tart cherry or Prunuscerasus is also called as sour cherry. These cherries vary in color from dark red to light red. Tart cherry juices are used in soups, tarts, cakes, and other savory dishes. The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) of the nutrients in tart cherry juice is given below (per 240 ml of the juice):

  • Protein:2 grams
  • Carbs:28 grams
  • Fat:1 gram
  • Fiber:5 grams
  • Vitamin C:40% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A:62% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K:7% of the RDI
  • Copper:12% of the RDI
  • Potassium:12% of the RDI
  • Manganese:14% of the RDI

Improve the strength of the muscles with this juice

Tart cherryThose who have an active physical lifestyle benefit a lot from this. When the muscles contract, there is an efflux of calcium from the cells. The magnesium from tart cherry juice prevents calcium efflux. This minimizes cramps. Potassium is vital for nerve impulse conduction and muscle relaxation.

The polyphenol content prevents damage from Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). These polyphenols are antioxidants. A study was conducted on long-distance These runners were given 710 ml of tart cherry juice for 7 days. The study reported that the runners experienced lesser muscle cramps than the ones who did not consume the juice. Other studies on those who consumed this juice showed only a small loss in muscle strength (4%) compared to the ones who did not consume it.

Tart cherry juice for better sleep

Research in 2016 suggested that insomnia occurred in more than 50% of the people globally. Consuming tart cherry juice seems to be a good remedy because it contains a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin alone and its metabolites protect the brain cells from ROS damage. The melatonin from tart cherry juice binds to certain sensors in the brain. This triggers the relaxation of nerve functions and helps you to relax.

Tart cherries also contain anthocyanins. These are antioxidants and help in neutralizing the damaging effect of the ROS on brain cells. Tart cherries also contain a good amount of the amino acid called tryptophan. This amino acid along with magnesium helps in the synthesis of serotonin (the “feel good” hormone). This hormone makes you feel pleasant and relaxed.

About 480 ml of this juice was given to individuals who had insomnia. The result was that the sleep time improved by about 85 minutes compared to the ones who did not receive the juice.

Reduce the symptoms of arthritis and gout

Gout is a condition of severe arthritis because of uric acid accumulation. The increase in uric acid levels in the blood leads to the development of uric acid crystals. These crystals are needle-like and accumulate in the joints and tissues causing pain and inflammation.

Tart cherry juiceCompounds such as cyanidin 3-sophoroside, cyanidin 3-glucosyl-rutinoside, cyanidin 3-glucoside, cyanidin 3-rutinoside are some of the anthocyanins present in tart cherries. They help in reducing the inflammation. The anthocyanins terminate the markers associated with inflammation

A clinical trial was done on individuals with gout. The rate at which gout was attenuated was about 20%. Another study on women with osteoarthritis showed reduced levels of inflammatory substances such as C-reactive protein (or CRP), interleukin-6, etc. Patients who drank about 240 ml of tart cherry juice on a daily basis showed a slight reduction in the pain after 6 weeks.

Enhance your cognition

Anthocyanins in tart cherry juice (such as peonidin, cyanidin 3‐rutinoside, etc.) possess both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics. Alzheimer’s is a disorder where the brain cells are damaged due to abnormal protein (beta-amyloid) accumulation. Parkinson’s is a condition of abnormal protein (prion) accumulation on specific brain cells that produce the chemical dopamine. This disorder is associated with loss of motor control.

These two brain disorders are aggravated due to ROS damage. The polyphenols in tart cherry juice help in combating the ROS damage in the brain. An investigation was done on volunteers who were given 240 ml of this juice for 2 times a day for 14 days. The levels of oxidative compounds showed a decrease when compared to those who did not drink this juice.

Another experiment was conducted on older adults with dementia. These patients were given about 200 ml of tart cherry juicefor12 weeks. There was a significant improvement in the verbal flow, memory and those who did not consume this juice showed zero improvements.

Tart cherry juice – an immune booster

Tart cherry juice contains vitamin C which is an immune booster. Important cells of the immune systems such as the phagocytes and T cells function well in the presence of this vitamin. The phenolic compounds and anthocyanins are antimicrobial in nature.

Marathon runners are generally more prone to upper respiratory tract infections. A report pointed out that there was lesser risk of infection in those who consumed the tart cherry juice. Those who did not consume the juice showed a 50% more liability of contracting this infection. Tart cherry juice helps in autoimmune diseases as well. The following autoimmune combating characteristics are provided:

  • These components protect the DNA from breaking
  • Inhibits the enzymes involved in autoimmunity
  • Prevents DNA damage
  • Enhances the immune system into cytokine production

Anticancer benefits of tart cherry juice

Reports suggest that tart cherry juice inhibit the COX enzymes. Here, COX enzymes cause inflammation. Inflammation is a way of cancer’s progression. So, inhibiting inflammation will inhibit cancer cell progression. ROS damage also paves the way for cancer cells to feed on the body. Antioxidants of tart cherry juice protect the cells from the ROS damage. The antioxidants also enable the activation of the other defense machinery in the cell.

The antioxidants attenuate the signaling pathways and activate the cell death pathways in cancer cells. Anthocyanins (such as cyaniding and aglycone) in the tart cherry terminate the epidermal growth factor receptor kinase activity and also the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in cancer cells. These two components are vital for cell division, cell proliferation, and metabolism in cancer. Terminating these targets will help in activating the cell death pathways in cancer cells.

Risks associated with tart cherry juice

The safe dosage would be about 240 ml (or 8 ounces) for 2 times in a day. If you are consuming tart cherry juice powder, a safe dose would be 480 mg per day according to many types of research. You will be able to notice the changes or harvest the benefits after about 10 days of consuming this supplement. This juice is not toxic.

A small disadvantage would be that it contains high amounts of sorbitol (an alcoholic form of glucose). This may cause diarrhea or stomach pain in some individuals. You need to know that tart cherry juice also contains an important antioxidant called quercetin. This compound may interfere with other blood thinning drugs. If at all you are interested in consuming tart cherry juice supplements, then it is better to consult a doctor first.

Is tart right for you?

Tart cherry juice is a sweetish tangy drink. It is a power pack of ingredients that confer potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Tart cherry juice contains muscle recovery properties, anti-cancer properties, and also anti-arthritis benefits. The sleep patterns can also be regularized with this juice because it contains melatonin. You can consume the supplements in the form of powder before which you must first consult a doctor. Supplements may interfere with blood thinning drugs.


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