We have long been fans of incorporating cherries into our diet for their delicious taste. Whether enjoying Pork Fajitas with Smoky Cherry Salsa or a more classic Slow-Cooker Cherry Cobbler, cherries are juicy and sweet and good for you too. With all of their wonderful health benefits, like fighting cancer and burning fat, we didn't think this fruit could get any better until we found out that drinking tart cherry juice—from the sour sister of the sweet cherry—could have cognitive benefits. But if an improved memory wasn't enough to convince you to start sipping on the juice, here are four other tart cherry juice health benefits that might convince you otherwise.
We all love our beauty sleep, and nothing is worse than tossing and turning all night before a long day of work. Thankfully, tart cherry juice is here to help. A 2018 pilot study suggests that drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice (8 ounces twice a day) helps fight insomnia by elevating levels of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle. An older study supports the same theory, showing tart cherry juice drinkers got more sleep and better quality sleep.
Related: 20 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
Pictured recipe: Anti-Inflammatory Cherry-Spinach Smoothie
Aids Muscle Recovery
According to a 2015 study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, drinking tart cherry juice may play a role in reducing muscle soreness. In the study, cyclists who consumed tart cherry juice concentrate prior to and after strenuous activity reported less muscle soreness both during and after exercising. But drinking a glass right before you work out may not have next-day benefits—the tested cyclists were consuming about 1 ounce of concentrated tart cherry juice daily for five days prior to and three days after the activity. Other studies looking at other forms of exercise, like running and strength training, showed similar reductions in soreness from drinking the juice or taking a powdered tart cherry supplement.
Related: What's the Best After-Workout Drink?
Helps Relieve Gout
Gout is a form of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood, which can cause sudden and severe pain, swelling and tenderness in the joints, especially in the big toe. If this sounds like something you may be suffering from, talk to your doctor. Untreated gout can lead to more pain and joint issues. On the bright side, tart cherry juice may help. The anthocyanins (the phytochemical responsible for their red-purple color) in tart cherries are thought to reduce the inflammation caused by high levels of uric acid, thus helping to reduce gout symptoms. This is especially important for patients unable to take medications for gout due to contraindications, meaning the medication would interact with meds treating other conditions and cause harm.
Pictured recipe: Cherry, Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad
Lowers Blood Pressure
Deemed the "silent killer," high blood pressure increases your risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. According to a study published in 2016, Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate significantly lowered blood pressure levels comparable to what's achieved by a single anti-hypertensive medication. This study shows that daily consumption of the concentrate could result in a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Related: Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
Where to Buy Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice can be found in most grocery stores in either the health-food aisle or with other juices and beverages. Check the label to make sure there are no added sugars and that it's 100% tart cherry juice. Whole tart cherries can usually be found in the freezer section, or fresh in the produce section for a short time when they're in season (June in warmer areas or July or August in colder climates).
More Tart Cherry Recipes to Try: