I was recently introduced to tart cherry juice as a healthy supplement and wanted to find out more about the potential benefits. Like other fruits and vegetables, cherries are a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They also contain compounds called polyphenols and anthocyanins that have beneficial pharmacological effects.
There is a fair amount of research that has been done showing that tart cherries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, similar to over the counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen. Cherry juice may also improve muscle recovery and decrease pain after exercise.
Tart cherries contain phytochemicals including melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and can improve sleep in patients with insomnia.
Increased consumption of cherries has been associated with a lower risk of gout attacks. Possible mechanisms of action for this are an increase in the glomerular filtration rate (kidney function), or reduced production of uric acid.
Cherries have also been shown to improve hemoglobin A1C in patients with diabetes, and improve cholesterol profiles.
Some studies have also demonstrated a lowering of blood pressure in people who consumed cherries.
So there appear to be plenty of benefits to eating cherries or consuming cherry juice, but like anything else, moderation is the key. Even natural products can cause problems if a person consumes too much.