Recently, cherry juice has gained traction as a natural solution for joint pain from daily activities and injury recovery. Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, consistent consumption of tart cherry juice may alleviate persistent joint pain due to physical exercise and enhance movement.
A Potent Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Inflammation often underlies the pain associated with joint injuries from exercise and arthritis. The vibrant red hue of cherries stems from anthocyanins, potent antioxidants. Research indicates these anthocyanins possess remarkable anti-inflammatory capacities.
In a study spanning 12 weeks, participants consumed two 8-ounce servings of tart cherry juice daily, leading to a marked decrease in inflammation indicators. Notably, women with osteoarthritis benefited significantly. It's essential to highlight that the most potent anti-inflammatory effects are linked to tart cherry types, such as the Montmorency variety.
The natural anti-inflammatories in tart cherry juice can accelerate recovery after an injury by reducing swelling and discomfort. In one study, long-distance runners drank Montmorency cherry juice twice a day for seven days before and three days after a marathon. The cherry juice group experienced less post-run muscle pain and strength loss compared to runners drinking another beverage.
Additional research found that tart cherry juice decreased certain cell-signaling proteins that cause inflammation and muscle breakdown after intense exercise. The antioxidants in cherry juice lessen the damage and inflammation done to muscles during strenuous workouts, allowing the body to heal faster.
An All-Natural Source of Melatonin
Interestingly, Montmorency tart cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin has powerful antioxidant effects that contribute to the anti-inflammatory benefits of cherry juice.
In addition to aiding sleep, studies suggest melatonin acts as a natural pain reliever. Research found that consuming cherry juice concentrate reduced chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis and helped participants fall asleep faster. The melatonin in cherry juice delivers the bonus benefit of improving sleep, which also speeds healing.
Choosing and Using Tart Cherry Juice
To experience the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving perks, experts recommend drinking 8 to 12 ounces of tart cherry juice twice daily. Look for unsweetened 100% tart cherry juice or concentrates made from whole Montmorency cherries. Avoid "cherry juice cocktails" with added sugars or sweeteners.
For gout flare-ups, try drinking 8 ounces of tart cherry juice three times a day. Freeze some concentrated juice in ice cube trays for a cooling treat to relieve painful gout symptoms fast.
Stir a tablespoon or two of concentrate into water, herbal tea, smoothies, or yogurt. Keep some tart cherry juice on hand to start drinking at the first twinge of muscle soreness or joint pain after a tough workout.
Combining cherry juice with ginger, turmeric, or anti-inflammatory spices maximizes the natural pain relief. Use tart cherry juice in marinades, salad dressings, and sauces for a double dose of antioxidants. Nutritionist Sarah Hall, October 2023
Quick Relief for Gout Flare-Ups
Gout occurs when excess uric acid forms painful crystals in the joints, especially the big toe. Uric acid triggers inflammation and intense pain in gout sufferers. The good news is that the anthocyanins in cherry juice have been shown to lower uric acid levels.
In one placebo-controlled study, participants drank 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day during a gout attack. After just two days, the cherry juice group had significantly less pain compared to the placebo group. The anti-inflammatory compounds in cherries helped reduce the painful inflammation and swelling of a gout flare.
The Takeaways on Tart Cherry Juice
- Powerfully anti-inflammatory and reduces joint pain
- Provides fast relief for gout flare-ups
- Speeds recovery after intense exercise
- Contains melatonin to improve sleep
- Choose 100% tart cherry juice concentrates
- Drink 8-12 oz twice daily, up to 3x daily for gout
Check Out Other Resources:
- 48 Condition Specific Natural Remedies
- Cherry Nutrition Facts
- How to Buy Cherry Juice
- Discovering the Optimal Time to Drink Tart Cherry Juice for Joint Health