You may have heard that tart cherry juice is good for you. What is so special about tart cherry juice and should you be drinking it?
Read on to learn more about the possible health benefits of cherries!
- Are Cherries Good For You?
- Tart Cherry Juice vs. Cherries
- Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
- Should I Take Tart Cherry Juice?
Are Cherries Good For You?
In short, yes! Like all fruits and vegetables, cherries are a very healthy food. Cherries are especially good for you because they are very high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants help stop oxidation in your body. Oxidation is the production of free radicals, which harm body cells. Oxidation happens every day as a result of normal body processes. It can also happen from things like pollution, infection, exercise and high blood glucose.
There are many different kinds of antioxidants. Specifically, cherries are especially high in a group of antioxidants called anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins have been studied to be beneficial for everything from heart disease, cognitive function and cancer. Later, we will dive into this research!
Other Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Although cherries do pack a ton of antioxidant power, many other fruits and vegetables do too!
Other foods high in antioxidants:
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
- Most other richly colored fruits and vegetables!
Other Nutritional Benefits of Cherries
Like all fruits, cherries are also a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
They are also a tasty low-calorie treat!
Tart Cherry Juice vs. Cherries
Of course, cherry juice is not the same as eating cherries themselves. Fiber may be the biggest difference between drinking juice and eating fruit. Juice does not have fiber, whereas fruit does.
According to the USDA database, 1 cup of tart cherry juice has about 160 calories and 33g of sugar. Compare this to only 90 calories and 18g sugar in 1 cup of raw cherries. Plus, cherries have 3 grams of fiber – compared to none in the juice.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting fruit juice and consuming whole fruit instead.
Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
Tart Cherry Juice & Cancer Prevention
In some small animal and cell studies, tart cherry juice has been shown to help prevent cancer.  However, these benefits are not always the same in humans.
A research review concluded that we need more research to know exactly how and if anthocyanins can be used to prevent cancer in humans. 
Tart Cherry Juice & Sport Performance
Lots of research has been done to see if tart cherry juice can help athletes recover after exercise. There are some promising results!
Tart Cherry Juice & Blood Pressure
Some small studies have found that tart cherry juice may help with blood pressure and improve LDL-cholesterol. 
Is Tart Cherry Juice Good For Kidneys?
Tart cherry juice is a great source of potassium, which tends to be good for kidney stones. However, there is no reason that tart cherry juice would be any better for kidney stone prevention than eating whole fruit.
Other Possible Tart Cherry Juice Benefits
Many other small studies have found that tart cherry juice might be helpful for health conditions including gout, sleep issues and inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and arthritis. 
Should I Take Tart Cherry Juice?
Although small studies have shown benefits, more research is needed in humans before tart cherry juice can be recommended for most health conditions.
However, it is clear that cherries are a great source of anthocyanins. And, anthocyanins have wonderful health benefits in general. I’d recommend getting these benefits through eating more cherries, and leaving the juice alone. This will save you all that added sugar!
Tips to Eat More Cherries
Here are my tips to add more cherries to your day!
- Keep frozen berries on hand
- Add dried cherries to salads, pastas, oatmeal or even on toast!
- Add cherries to smoothies
- Snack on fresh or dried cherries