Two More Reasons We Love Tart Cherries
Updated: May 4
Tart cherry benefits are plentiful. They promote brain health by protecting the brain cells and reducing oxidative stress, which is believed to be the cause of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Tart cherries strengthen the immune system by preventing infections including the upper respiratory system. It has been known to reduce blood pressure in some people. It has also been able to reduce pain and is used in many medications.
It would also turn out that cherries are another wonderful source of melatonin and an anti-inflammatory. As we get older our sleep patterns change and it’s usually harder for us to get the sleep we need. Cherries not only increase our sleep but allow us to have a much better quality of sleep.
There are so many types of arthritis that people of any age can suffer from. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. The Director of Sports Nutrition from the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, advises that incorporating tart cherries into the training menu of professional athletes and active clients has helped manage pain. “Why not eat red when there’s so much science to support the anti-inflammatory benefits of this Super Fruit? And for athletes whose palates prefer the tart-sweet flavor profile of tart cherries, it’s the optimal ingredient.”
Researchers have done several studies on the different age groups from 20-30, 35-55, and 65-85 years old. They divided the groups up randomly into two separate groups. One group received tart cherry juice while the other group received a placebo with cherry flavor twice a day. Those who drank the tart cherry juice had a much higher quality of sleep which was measured by the sleep efficacy, awakenings, and total sleep time.
Anthocyanins, which are the antioxidant compounds found in tart cherries have anti-inflammatory levels that are comparable to well-known pain medications. Researchers from the Baylor Research Institute found that when tart cherry extract is taken daily it reduced osteoarthritis pain by more than twenty percent.
While tart cherry juice is safe for most people it is important to note that it also contains quercetin. Quercetin is a plant compound that may interact with certain medications including blood thinners. Be sure to check with your doctor before adding large amounts of tart cherry juice to your diet.
You can read more about both studies by checking out the references below.
Garrido M, González-Gómez D, Lozano M, Barriga C, Paredes SD, Rodríguez AB. A
Jerte valley cherry product provides beneficial effects on sleep quality.Influence on aging. J Nutr Health Aging. 2013;17(6):553-60. doi: 10.1007/s12603-013-0029-4.
Sleigh, AE, Kuehl KS, Elliot DL . Efficacy of tart cherry juice to reduce inflammation among patients with osteoarthritis. American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. May 30, 2012.
Kuehl KS, Perrier ET, Elliot DL, Chestnutt J. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010;7:17-22.
Seeram NP, Momin RA, Nair MG, Bourquin LD. Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries. Phytomedicine 2001;8:362-369.
Cush JJ. Baylor Research Institute, pilot study on tart cherry and osteoarthritis of the knees, 2007.Kelley DS, Adkins Y, Reddy A, Woodhouse LR, Mackey BE, Erickson KL. Sweet bing cherries lower circulating concentrations of markers for chronic inflammatory diseases in healthy humans. J Nutr. 2013 Mar;143(3):340-4. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.171371.
Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16.
Burkhardt S, Tan DX, Manchester LC, Hardeland R, Reiter RJ. Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Oct;49(10):4898-902.
Garrido M, Paredes SD, Cubero J, Lozano M, Toribio-Delgado AF, Muñoz JL, Reiter RJ, Barriga C, Rodríguez AB. Jerte Valley cherry-enriched diets improve nocturnal rest and increase 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and total antioxidant capacity in the urine of middle-aged and elderly humans. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Sep;65(9):909-14.