Have you read that cherry juice is helpful to fight inflammation? Do you have questions about this claim? Me too! Read further to learn about tart cherry juice benefits.
Why is Cherry Juice Helpful?
So we are interested in fighting inflammation. In my research I have realized that some pain is caused by inflammation or at least impacted by inflammation. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints causing pain and stiffness. In addition, gout is considered to be a form of inflammatory arthritis.
Inflammation results in free radicals in our bodies. Although my pain is caused by spinal stenosis, and therefore nerve related, I still want to find foods that will help me feel my best. I have another article that talks about inflammation and pain. It’s about Blueberries; read it here.
The compounds in cherry juice that fight this are called anthocyanins. These are plant pigments that contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. These anthocyanins are in red and purple fruits, but tart cherries contain higher amounts. For our purposes, the anti-inflammatory properties are of interest here.
So if inflammation causes joint pain, then an anti-inflammatory compound should fight the inflammation, and thus reduce the pain. Apparently that is what cherry juice does. And it’s natural!
What Type of Cherry Juice Should I Drink?
Although sweet cherry juice does contain the helpful anthocyanins, tart cherry juice contains more of them ounce for ounce.
Look for tart cherry juice that doesn’t have added sugars. It can be made from concentrate or from juice. Both are fine, just avoid the sugars.
My research recommends drinking from 8 – 12 ounces of the juice twice daily. Personally, I am starting with a smaller amount. I can’t stand the tart taste, to be honest. So I use it as a flavoring in my water. Therefore, I am experimenting with amounts. I recommend you do the same.
Be consistent. Track your pain levels. Track the amount of juice you drink. See if there is a reduction of your pain from consuming the juice. I would welcome your input regarding this. It would also help other pain sufferers.
What About Eating Cherries?
There is some research that shows eating cherries can be beneficial as well. Up to a cup is apparently the magic amount. Cherry extract is also helpful. Here’s a link to an article that is a little more informative on these two items.
Also available are supplements and capsules of tart cherry extract. There is tart cherry powder as well, which you can mix into juice or water. Since these are not controlled by the FDA, I would recommend you talk with your physician about taking them.
Other Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
There are many more benefits from drinking tart cherry juice. Some of them are:
- Better sleep – the cherry’s properties increase the body’s ability to use tryptophan and melatonin.
- May improve cognitive ability in older adults. The older I get, the harder it is to do tasks requiring memory, so this is a benefit I am eager to experience.
- Helps maintain a healthy blood pressure. I struggle to have my blood pressure be at a normal level. I am trying to eat right and exercise, but if the juice helps, then I am going to keep drinking it.
- Gives your immune system a boost.
- There may be benefits of reducing cancer cell growth, but this is only in the research stage at this point.
- There is some research that tart cherry juice improves gout symptoms and may even prevent them.
What About the Science Behind These Claims?
There have been some studies that seek to correlate pain management with the benefits of tart cherry juice. The National Institute of Health has an extensive article about anthocyanins and how they might help the body in many ways. See it here.
Another, less lengthy article, talks about the positive possibilities to treat Peripheral Neuropathy with natural remedies like cherry juice.
There are some precautions or warnings concerning cherry juice. If you have one of these conditions, then check with your doctor before starting a regiment of tart cherry juice. They include:
- You need to restrict your potassium
- You have fluid restrictions
- You have later stage chronic kidney disease
- Diabetics should be aware of sugar content in the juice
- Medications may interact, especially blood pressure and cholesterol meds
A Personal Note:
Although I have been trying it in only limited quantities, I am finding it is affecting my stomach. I won’t go into much detail, but since I have stomach issues to begin with, I think I will back off on the quantity until my tummy gets used to it. Be advised if you have a sensitive stomach! Therefore, take it easy on the dosage.
I am not a medical professional. I have sought to research this topic to provide you with information that I hope you find helpful in managing your pain. Please check with your doctor if you have any concerns about consuming tart cherry juice.
What Do You Think?
Have you been using tart cherry juice to help with your pain issues? I would love to hear about it. Do you have questions? Leave them in the comments. Let’s help each other manage our pain.