Drinking tart cherry juice is a new phenomenon among athletes and health-seekers looking for natural ways to get a better night's sleep and lower inflammation in the body, because of its scientifically proven health benefits. Several studies have shown that tart cherries contain high levels of antioxidants and flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins, which help lower inflammation and improve sleep efficiency, two important factors that play a big role in overall health.

More and more doctors and medical professionals are recommending their patients treat everything from sleep apnea and migraines to inflammation and sports injuries with a daily regimen of tart cherry juice. "Prescription drugs can act as band-aids, to cover-up or minimize the symptoms of the underlying health problem, and all too often they do not work well," says Dr. Mark Drucker, Medical Director of the Center for Advanced Medicine in Encinitas, CA. He helps patients treat the root cause of their problem with an integrated approach to medicine that uses natural remedies such as tart cherry. He shared his knowledge and advice for anyone who experiences gout and or joint pain and believes that tart cherry juice helps "boost melatonin."

Beth Miller, a Registered Dietician, is Director of Sports Nutrition at Duke University and Cheribundi Pit Crew Ambassador recommends drinking tart cherry juice to her athletes who report back that it reduces joint pain, helps them get better quality sleep, and overcome a host of other complaints. Miller recalls one patient who reversed his headaches and solved his sleep apnea that was the underlying cause after just one week of drinking tart cherry juice before bed.

What makes tart cherry juice such a powerful elixir?

Tart cherry juice contains strong antioxidants called polyphenolic compounds, especially proanthocyanins, anthocyanins, and flavonols that help lower inflammation in the body. It also has high levels of Vitamin A and C for eye health and immunity, as well as manganese, and potassium, for bone and blood health. The bottom line is, there's no downside to drinking tart cherry juice, but read the labels and look for packaged bottles with just one ingredient or 100 percent tart cherry juice.

3 Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice, According to Studies

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1. Tart Cherry Juice Helps Lower Inflammation

Most doctors and nutritionists who specialize in injury prevention advise their patients to drink tart cherry juice for joint pain since several new studies have proven that the antioxidants in tart cherries lower inflammation.

In one study, researchers found that the group that consumed tart cherry juice had a decrease in inflammation by 25 percent, and their LDL (bad) cholesterol came down 11 percent, indicating that tart cherry may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

2. Tart Cherry Juice Reduces Uric Acid and Gout

Gout, a form of arthritis caused by acidic build-up in the joints and tissues of the body, appears to get alleviated by tart cherry juice, according to Dr. Drucker, who advises his patients to consume 100 percent tart cherry juice to help with the discomfort.

"Tart cherry juice has anti-inflammatory effects due to its antioxidants that help people who have high levels of uric acid," Dr. Drucker explains. Uric acid building causes inflammation in the joints. His patients who try tart cherry report that it helps ease the pain.

'I had a patient with joint pain caused by high levels of uric acid and I prescribed them to first eat a more plant-based diet to help them get in a state of alkaline, and second, to drink 100 percent tart cherry juice for a quick improvement. Seven days later, the pain disappeared," Dr. Drucker says. "I like people to consume tart cherry juice as a contracted liquid," he adds, since patients who have high blood sugar or diabetes need to be mindful of getting too much sugar in their diet, even, cutting back on their fruit intake.

In a study designed to test the effect of tart cherry juice on overweight patients with inflammation and at high risk for gout, the research found that drinking the juice significantly reduces serum uric acid by 19 percent.

3. Tart Cherry Juice Helps Patients with Sleep Apnea

Both Dr. Drucker and Beth Miller recommend drinking tart cherry juice for better quality sleep. Miller shared a success story from a patient who took tart cherry juice to improve sleep apnea. Within a week of starting on the tart cherry juice, he was having more restful sleep.

In a placebo-controlled study, patients with insomnia were placed in a randomized trial where one group was given 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice every day for two weeks and the other group got a placebo. Researchers found that the "cherry juice increased sleep time and sleep efficiency" by 84 minutes on average. They also mentioned that the cherry juice reduced inflammation and may be partially responsible for the improvement in insomnia.

Bottom Line: Tart cherry juice has been scientifically proven to lower inflammation in the joints and muscle tissue, reduce the discomfort of gout, and help people with sleep apnea feel more restful. If you are having trouble sleeping, try drinking 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day, and you may also find that it helps relieve inflammation or joint pain, and may also help to lower your LDL cholesterol. Always consult your doctor before drinking tart cherry for health reasons.

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