Cherries are amongst the prettiest one-bite-sized pitted fruits, and you’ll find them everywhere, from tarts to cocktails. Not all cherries are made equal, though. There are sweet cherries and their cousins, the tart cherries.
All berries are super healthy, authentic superfoods with lots of vitamins, minerals, and several beneficial compounds, and cherries are no different. So, which is healthier? Sweet or tart cherries? Tart cherries have less sugar than their sweet counterparts, of course, and that makes them already healthier. Still, they also have lots of health benefits that will make you want to drink tart cherry juice every day. Here’s all you need to know!
Tart Cherry Juice Nutritional Facts
One cup of cherries, measured with pits, provide 87 calories, 20 grams of carbs comprising 3 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of sugar. There is protein in cherries, too, 1.4 grams per cup.
Cherries have high amounts of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C with 15% of your Daily Value, potassium with 10%, copper with 5%, and manganese with 5%.
These compounds react at many levels in your system, making cherries more than delicious; they’re incredibly healthy! The best way to enjoy cherry’s nutritional value is by snacking fresh or dried (unsweetened) tart cherries or drinking 100% tart cherry juice.
11 Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is an excellent addition to any diet, whether vegan, vegetarian, or following a more conventional diet. The sour juice is a natural vitamin and supplement, and when all-natural, it is also a fantastic source of sugars with a low glycemic index.
Here’s a warning, though. Store-bough tart cherry juice is sometimes packed with added sweeteners, more often than not sugar, making the juice a not-so-healthy alternative. Sugar is not the enemy here but overeating it! On the other hand, tart cherry juice is a fantastic drink — delicious and healthy. Here are some health benefits of tart cherry juice.
Makes You Feel Great
Overall, tart cherry juice acts on many levels to make you feel good and stay healthy. This is for all the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in the juice. Potassium, for example, will keep your nerve system healthy while regulating your heartbeat; it will also help you metabolize carbohydrates.
Potassium in cherries and other foods like bananas and avocados can reduce the formation of kidney stones, slow down osteoporosis and even prevent strokes. A cup of cherries adds 10% of the potassium you need every day, and that’s a great start.
But why stop at potassium? Tart cherry juice has massive amounts of vitamin C, manganese, and many other essential nutrients.
Gout is the swelling of the joints, and it’s harrowing. Redness, inflammation and impaired movement are common in patients with gout caused by uric acid buildup in the joint.
Tart cherries are particularly effective in keeping uric acid levels low, and since the fruit has anti-inflammatory properties, it also helps reduce the effects of gout. To prevent gout, treat it, and reduce its symptoms, there are few better all-natural remedies than cherry juice.
If you suffer from gout, many medicaments can help you lower uric acid levels but complementing them with natural cherry juice is a great way to start feeling better.
Good for Heart Health
Tart cherries, along with all berries, are packed with antioxidants, molecules that bind with free radicals floating in your bloodstream. These free radicals damage your tissue, causing generalized inflammation that increases your blood pressure.
Increased blood pressure causes your heart to work extra hard, putting it at risk of suffering from a stroke. A healthy heart needs not worry about inflammation or oxidative stress caused by free radicals; therefore, adding antioxidants to your diet is critical.
Along with cherries, blueberries, olive oil, red wine, and even dark chocolate are excellent sources of antioxidants. Add these to your diet in moderation and keep it varied.
Boosts Brain Functions
Antioxidants in cherries do more than keep inflammation at bay, they also fight free radicals that cause damage to your cells, and that includes damage to your sensitive brain cells.
Brain cell deterioration causes memory loss and reasoning capabilities, so protecting these cells is paramount. Well, tart cherry juice is one way to do it. As the antioxidants and flavonoids in cherries control damaging molecules floating in your bloodstream, they guarantee a healthier brain — therefore, less risk of cognitive loss.
The brain is sensitive, and it gets damaged easily with all the junk that enters our system, whether from a poor diet or bad habits like drinking alcohol and smoking.
Might Help Prevent Some Types of Cancer
Antioxidants in cherries and anthocyanins, the compounds responsible for the fruit’s intense color, are extraordinary to keep chronic inflammation caused by oxidative stress at bay. Inflammation is responsible for some types of cancer.
Cherries have significant levels of vitamin C as well, which has proven to be effective at slowing down cancer development in some cases, particularly with lung cancer. Finally, the high levels of dietary fiber in cherries can help reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
Although cancer comes in many forms and has many causes, good nutrition and a healthy system reduce the risk of suffering from it.
Helps You Sleep
Melatonin and other compounds found in cherries can regulate your sleeping habits, stabilize your sleep cycle, improve your sleep, and allow your body to recover.
A good night’s sleep is healthier than you think, and tart cherries might help you get one consistently, increasing sleep duration and even sleep quality. This, along with cherries’ muscle-restoring properties, bone protecting abilities, and anti-inflammatory effects, makes cherry juice a great drink to enjoy before going to bed.
More research is needed to understand how cherry juice can improve everyone’s sleep, but there’s solid evidence that the tasty fruit can play a part in healthy sleeping habits.
Cherries have a unique combination of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, just what your body needs to repair muscles after working out. Tart cherry juice effectively speeds up muscle recovery reducing pain and improving physical performance.
Strength and endurance might be positively influenced by the many health compounds in cherry juice and are commonly consumed by professional athletes. You can also benefit from tart cherries’ recovery and performance-boosting properties by adding them to your diet.
Since tart cherries are also effective at restoring hydration levels, their juice might just be the ultimate all-natural sports drink. It’s tastier than the commercial alternatives as well!
Strengthens Immune System
Vitamin C is well known for boosting your immune system by improving your reaction to foreign microorganisms, including viruses and bacteria. A strong immune system reduces the risk of getting sick and prevents infections of all types.
Vitamin C helps strengthen the epithelial barrier function against pathogens, fights ambient oxidative stress in your skin, and can treat respiratory diseases caused by bacterial infections.
Oranges, lemons, and many other fruits are high in vitamin C, but tart cherries amongst the best sources; that’s why they’re so tart! Sourness in cherries comes from ascorbic acid, AKA vitamin C. A balanced, healthy diet is also instrumental in enjoying a robust immune system.
Tart cherries have natural anti-inflammatory properties, which is obviously good at many levels, but it’s effective in treating joint pain and arthritis.
A common type of arthritis is caused by uric acid buildup, and since tart cherry juice controls uric acid, as explained above, it can prevent joint inflammation. Besides, antioxidants in cherries can counter inflammation-causing proteins slowing down arthritis and helping in its prevention.
Vitamin A in cherries, in the form of beta-carotene, helps fix calcium in your bone structure, further protecting them from degenerative conditions, decalcification and loss of joint movement such as arthritis. Eating a fistful of cherries or drinking a glass of cherry juice every day can show significant improvement in some people.
The eyes are prone to degeneration, especially if you don’t enjoy an active lifestyle and a healthy diet. The small veins in the eyes are the first to suffer when blood pressure is high, there’s too much sugar in your bloodstream, or you are dehydrated.
Tart cherry juice can help you maintain a healthy circulatory system thanks to its vitamin C and antioxidants, keeping your eyes healthy in the process. More important is the beta-carotene present in cherries (and carrots, too) that becomes vitamin A in the body — this compound is critical for eye health. It will certainly reduce the risk of premature eye degeneration.
Keeps You Hydrated
With excellent levels of potassium, manganese, and other essential minerals, tart cherry juice is a good way of staying hydrated and replenishing your electrolytes. The fruit balances the water retained in your body.
Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways of staying healthy and keeping discomforts like headaches and bad moods at bay. Adequate hydration is also critical to maintaining a healthy liver land low blood sugar levels.
The best part is that tart cherry juice is way tastier than water, and it’s equally hydrating. You’ll find it easy to enjoy a glass every day, preferably in the morning, to maintain safe hydration levels.
Why You Should Drink Tart Cherry Juice Everyday
Tart Cherry Juice is an all-natural product that’s as good for you as it is tasty. There’s a good chance drinking cherry juice every day will help you keep many degenerative conditions and diseases at bay while keeping all the systems in your body working fine.
From lower inflammation levels to stronger bones and from a healthier heart to a fine-tuned brain, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t drink cherry juice regularly. Just make sure it’s not sweetened artificially.
Cherry juice is a power drink and a superfood; drinking it is a great habit as well! Always have some tart cherry juice in the fridge and start feeling better.
What to Expect When Drinking Tart Cherry Juice?
The first thing to expect after adding tart cherry juice to your diet is feeling restored, as you’ll be adequately hydrated with your vitamin and mineral levels on point.
You’ll also notice joint and muscle pain is not as common anymore, and you feel energized. A closer look at your system will also show you have adequate blood pressure levels and controlled blood sugar levels.
The most important thing, though, is that drinking cherry juice every day will help you start the day with a smile — after all, the juice is delicious! Together with an active lifestyle and a balanced diet, expect to feel great.
How To Make Tart Cherry Juice
- 1 pound of cherries
- 1 pound of sugar or sugar substitute
- 4 cups of water
- De-stem and cut the cherries in half to remove the seeds.
- In a large saucepan, add the cherries, sugar and water. Boil until the cherries have softened. (Around 15-20 minutes)
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Using an electric hand mixer, purée the cherries. Add more water if the mixture is too thick. Stir well, optionally strain the juice and pour into a bottle.
- If kept unstrained, the juice will be chunky but will have more health benefits.
How to Make Tart Cherry Juice Soda
- 1 pound of cherries
- 1 pound of sugar or sugar substitute
- 4 cups of water
- Soda as needed
- Using a similar method as above. De-stem and remove the cherries’ pits.
- In a large saucepan, add the cherries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil, this time for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, let it cool and using a hand mixer, purée until you get a thick jam. Don’t add any extra water as you want a syrup consistency.
- Strain and save for later use.
- When ready to use, add two tablespoons of cherry concentrate syrup into a glass filled with soda and stir gently.
Tart Cherries Are Authentic Superfoods!
Everyone talks about kale, chia seeds, quinoa, and, to some extent, blueberries when talking about superfoods. Still, tart cherries are as healthy as all these nutrient-rich foods, and they’re arguably tastier.
Besides, adding tart cherries or tart cherry juice to your diet is insanely easy, so why not start today? If you’ve got your hands in a fresh batch of tart cherries, make your own juice and syrup. There’s nothing like starting the day with a glass of ruby-hued beauty!
About the Author
Lori Bogedin is a health and wellness writer and editor of TwigsCafe.com. She is in the restaurant business since 1999. In 2016 she was named one of the "Top Women in Business" by Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal.