Tart cherry is an extremely acidic variety of cherry originating in Asia and Europe. It is primarily used in cooking because it is so tart most people do not like the taste of the raw fruit. The fresh cherries and juice concentrate have been shown to have many health and medical benefits due to its richness in nutrient elements including anthocyanidins.
Nutritional Facts for Tart Cherry
In addition to the anthocyanidins, tart cherries contain many other nutrients. Tart cherries are high in fiber and potassium. With no fat or sodium, tart cherries also have high amounts of vitamins C, E, A and folic acid. The amounts of beta carotene and thiamin in tart cherries are higher than found in other berries and apples. Tart cherry juice also contains high amounts of the phytonutrients that can help protect against the effects of aging, heart disease and cancer. Before increasing your intake of tart cherry juice, be sure to consult your nutritionist who can help read the labels and ensure that the form of tart cherries is right for you.
Tart Cherry Juice Benefits
The tart cherry contains a low number of calories and a huge number of nutrients, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. The health benefits of tart cherry juice range from infection and cancer prevention to promotion of heart health.
1. Provide Antioxidants
Tart cherry juice contains high amounts of anthocyanins which is an antioxidant shown to neutralize the free radicals that can cause damage to tissues. Studies show that drinking tart cherry juice can result in decrease of heart disease, the cognitive decline that comes from aging, and some types of cancer. The additional benefit is that the antioxidant effect can last for 12 or more hours after drinking the tart cherry juice.
2. Prevent Muscle Damage
Studies show that drinking tart cherry juice on a regular basis can decrease muscle pain and loss of strength in young, male students. Tart cherry juice has well-known anti-inflammatory properties that may help combat gout and arthritis.
3. Relieve Pain
Tart cherry juice contains phenolics that can have potent anti-inflammatory effects. These substances tend to block two enzymes that produce prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are the compounds that cause inflammation and pain. Very dark cherries such as the tart cherry contain more phenolics than other cherries. Drinking tart cherry juice can act very much like pain medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. In fact, studies have shown that 400 milligrams of the anthocyanins will relieve pain as well as the well-known drug indomethacin (Indocin).
4. Control Weight
A study out of the University of Michigan found that tart cherry juice may help to control weight by increasing the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. In addition, the juice may help decrease the incidence of metabolic syndrome that tends to increase blood pressure and cholesterol. Be aware that the tartness of the tart cherry juice requires use of sugar to make the juice taste good. Therefore, commercially available tart cherry juice may contain calories that you do not want to take in on a diet. Be sure to read the label before drinking the tart cherry juice for weight loss.
5. Regulate Blood Sugar
The anthocyanins in tart cherry juice help to control the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats in the body. Tart cherry juice can also help to lower cholesterol. By controlling this metabolism, tart cherry juice may help to decrease the risk of some types of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
6. Improve Sleeping
Another substance readily available in tart cherry juice is melatonin. This hormone is well-known for its effects on the body’s internal clock which makes it a great treatment for some types of insomnia. Studies show that drinking tart cherry juice can improve your ability to go asleep and stay asleep.
7. Fight Cancers
There are three chemicals in tart cherry juice (perillyl alcohol, ellagic acid, and limonene) that have been shown to slow or stop the cell damage that can lead to cancer. These substances seem to be especially effective in stopping the damage that can lead to skin, lung, breast and liver cancers.