I attended a national sports medicine conference recently. In one of my meetings, a sports medicine surgeon talked about the benefits of tart cherry juice. He seemed to be excited about it from a research standpoint as well as his personal experience.
I heard Montmorency tart cherry juice mentioned a couple of years ago when I interviewed Nick Littlehales, a world-renowned sports sleep coach. He mentioned its use could benefit athletes who struggle to sleep well.
These events led me to study some articles on the reported benefits of tart cherry juice. While it appears that some of the research was funded by the cherry industry and some of the studies were fairly small, there still seems to be some possible benefits to your health. Further research will better clarify how tart cherry juice affects these outcomes.
Please understand that this post is not meant to serve as medical advice. To better decide if drinking tart cherry juice is right for you, please talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
Tart cherry juice benefit #1: Helps insomnia
As Littlehales told me, tart cherry juice might help you sleep. One study from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at LSU showed that people with insomnia can get almost 90 minutes more sleep by drinking it twice a day.
Tart cherry juice benefit #2: Protects against heart disease
Another study performed by researchers at the University of Delaware showed that drinking this juice could lower your systolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. It also might prevent the LDL from becoming oxidized and sticking to the walls of the blood vessels in the heart.
Tart cherry juice benefit #3: Improves recovery from sports training and competition
Research suggests that drinking tart cherry juice in the days prior to a race can limit muscle damage, inflammation and soreness.
Tart cherry juice benefit #4: Decreases inflammation
The antioxidants in tart cherry juice could fight inflammation that can lead to pain and swelling, such as that from arthritis.
There are even reports that suggest the anthocyanins in tart cherry juice could help fight cancer cell proliferation.
If you are thinking about starting to drink tart cherry juice on a regular basis, talk to your doctor and find out if it’s right for you.