The Untold Health Benefits of Tart Cherries: What You Need to Know

Tart cherries, scientifically known as Prunus cerasus, are not only a delectable fruit but also a nutritional powerhouse, offering a wide array of health benefits. This small, sour fruit is increasingly recognized for its impressive nutritional profile, its ability to enhance sleep quality, facilitate muscle recovery, and alleviate pain, its anti-inflammatory properties, and much more.

Eager to discover all this fruit boasts? Let's get to it then!

Nutritional Profile

Tart cherries boast a rich nutritional profile that is beneficial for overall health. They are a low-calorie fruit that provides a good source of fiber, essential for digestive health. In addition, they contain vitamins A, C, and K, and are a source of the important electrolyte mineral, potassium. 

Tart cherries also offer a variety of other minerals and bioactive compounds, including calcium and magnesium, along with small amounts of iron and zinc, which can support immune function and wound healing, respectively.

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With that said, it’s not surprising to find out that it is very beneficial when consumed, improving health in the process. Don’t know how to experience these cherries for yourself? Consuming our Field Of Greens superfood powder is a great way to get yours, along with a myriad of other beneficial ingredients. 

Enhancing Sleep Quality

One of the most celebrated benefits of tart cherries is their ability to enhance sleep quality. This fruit is a natural source of melatonin, an endogenous hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. 

woman in deep sleep phase

Findings have indicated that consuming tart cherry juice or extract can increase both the quantity and quality of sleep, particularly in people with insomnia. The presence of anthocyanins, a specific group of antioxidants, may also play a role in improving sleep, due to their potential impact on reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, factors that can adversely affect sleep patterns.

Muscle Recovery and Pain Reduction

Athletes and individuals engaged in regular physical activity may particularly benefit from incorporating tart cherries into their diet. Research has shown that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of tart cherries can aid in muscle recovery post-exercise by reducing muscle damage and DOMS.

Consumption of tart cherry juice has been associated with decreased muscle soreness and improved recovery times, making it a favored choice among sports enthusiasts, since this benefit is observed in both strength and endurance athletes alike.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The anti-inflammatory effects of tart cherries are profound. These effects are primarily attributed to the high concentration of anthocyanins, which are compounds that give the cherries their vibrant red color. 

Chronic inflammation is a root cause of many diseases, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. By incorporating tart cherries into the diet, individuals may experience a reduction in inflammation markers, which can contribute to the prevention and management of these conditions.

Heart Health Benefits 

Tart cherries offer a plethora of benefits as it relates to promoting heart health. One significant mechanism through which tart cherries do this is via the management of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a key driver of cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. 

anthocyanins

The presence of the aforementioned anthocyanins, as well as flavonoids, and polyphenols, are mainly responsible for this benefit. 

To go with this, tart cherries exhibit remarkable antioxidative properties. Oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in the progression of cardiovascular diseases by promoting the oxidation of lipids and proteins, leading to endothelial dysfunction and plaque formation. 

The high concentration of antioxidants scavenges free radicals, thereby reducing oxidative damage and preserving cardiovascular health.

Tart cherries also contribute to improving lipid profiles, another crucial aspect of heart health. Elevated levels of cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. 

Regular consumption of tart cherries can lead to favorable alterations in lipid metabolism, including reductions in total cholesterol, LDL-C levels, and triglycerides, while simultaneously increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). These lipid-modifying effects contribute to the prevention of atherosclerosis and promote overall cardiovascular wellness.

Antioxidant Powerhouse

Tart cherries are a bonafide antioxidant powerhouse. They are rich in a wide variety of antioxidants, including vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids, which can protect the body against oxidative stress and subsequent inflammation. 

Oxidative stress is involved in the aging process and the development of many chronic diseases. By combating oxidative stress, the antioxidants in tart cherries can help to promote overall health and longevity. 

These compounds are even attributed to a reduction in cancer risk, since many cells bombarded by free radicals, or oxidative damage to DNA cells often precipitates the genesis of cancer.

Managing Arthritis Pain

Arthritis, a condition characterized by inflammation and pain in the joints, affects millions of people worldwide. The management of arthritis pain is a crucial concern for those affected. Tart cherries emerge as a natural remedy in this context, owing to their high concentration of anthocyanins. 

elderly man with arthritis

A study published in the Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Journal highlighted that patients who consumed tart cherry juice daily experienced a significant reduction in osteoarthritis pain. The effectiveness of tart cherries in managing arthritis pain can be attributed to their ability to decrease the levels of inflammatory markers in the body, offering a natural alternative to conventional pain management strategies, which are sometimes associated with serious risks.

Boosting Immune Function

You shouldn’t be surprised when you hear that these cherries pack a punch when it comes to supporting immune health. The presence of Vitamin C, in particular, plays a pivotal role in enhancing the body's resistance to infectious agents by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. 

The many other antioxidants present in tart cherries, such as quercetin and the aforementioned anthocyanins, contribute to immune health as well by protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. This protective action can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and infections, decreasing the risk of the immune system being compromised.

Weight Management Support

The global struggle with obesity highlights the need for effective weight management strategies. Tart cherries can play a helpful role on this front, thanks to their high fiber content and low-calorie count. 

Lean

Dietary fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, as it promotes feelings of fullness and reduces overall calorie intake by slowing down digestion speed and transit of food. Even more exciting, the anthocyanins in tart cherries have been linked to reduced fat storage and increased fat oxidation, according to research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. 

This suggests that tart cherries not only help in controlling appetite but also in regulating metabolism, making them a beneficial addition to weight management diets.

Combining their promise along with more effective metabolism and fat-inhibiting compounds, such as Brickhouse Lean, can help you achieve much more than you would if going it solo. 

Bone Health

Tart cherries exert their bone-strengthening effects through several mechanisms, notably involving the presence of key nutrients such as vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium.

Vitamin K plays a necessary role in bone metabolism by facilitating the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein essential for bone mineralization. By promoting the incorporation of calcium into the bone matrix, vitamin K aids in maintaining bone density and strength, thus reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis developing. Tart cherries provide a notable amount of vitamin K, contributing to overall bone health.

They also boast a commendable calcium content, another essential nutrient crucial for bone health. Calcium serves as the primary mineral constituent of bones, imparting structural integrity and resilience. 

Consuming foods rich in calcium, such as tart cherries, helps fortify bone tissue, thereby lowering the risk of osteoporosis and age-related bone loss. Additionally, the presence of magnesium in tart cherries further enhances their bone-protective effects. 

Magnesium works synergistically with calcium, aiding in its absorption and utilization within bone tissue. Magnesium also plays a role in supporting bone density by modulating the activity of osteoblasts, cells responsible for bone formation.

Integrating tart cherries into your nutrition plan may offer a simple yet effective strategy for promoting lifelong bone health.

Skin Health and Aging

The quest for youthful, radiant skin and the delay of aging signs is as old as time. Tart cherries emerge as a natural ally in this quest, thanks to their high content of antioxidants. These potent antioxidants fight against oxidative stress, which is a major contributor to the aging process. Oxidative stress leads to the breakdown of collagen, the structural protein that gives skin its firmness and elasticity. 

Radiance Vanilla

By neutralizing free radicals, the antioxidants in tart cherries help preserve the integrity of collagen, potentially reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Not only that, but the Vitamin C content plays a role in the synthesis of collagen too, as deficiency leads to connective tissue disorders.

Supporting Normal Cognitive Health

Maintaining cognitive function is key to living a fulfilling life, but sometimes, natural decline occurs due to aging or other factors. Interestingly, certain foods can support cognitive health, and tart cherries are among those beneficial foods. 

One of the primary ways tart cherries can support cognitive function is through their high levels of antioxidants. Excessive free radical generation plays a significant role in the aging process and is linked to cognitive decline along with the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

By neutralizing free radicals, the antioxidants in tart cherries can help protect neurons (brain cells) from damage, thus supporting cognitive health.

Chronic inflammation has been identified as another key contributor to cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. The anti-inflammatory effects of tart cherries can help reduce inflammation in the brain, further protecting it from damage and supporting cognitive functions such as memory and attention.

The ability to improve sleep lends itself to enhanced cognition as well. Adequate sleep is essential for cognitive processes, including learning, memory consolidation, and decision-making. By improving sleep quality, tart cherries can indirectly support cognitive health and performance.

Emerging research suggests that tart cherries may also impact the gut-brain axis, a complex communication network linking the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. 

Tart cherries have been found to have prebiotic properties, meaning they can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome has been linked to improved cognitive function, possibly through reduced inflammation and modulation of neurotransmitter levels.

Diabetes Management

You might be wondering how a fruit that contains natural sugar can be helpful to diabetics. Turns out, it's not just about the sugar content in the food, but how it affects blood sugar levels and overall health. Tart cherries, in particular, have several properties that can be beneficial for managing diabetes.

Firstly, tart cherries have a relatively low glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a low GI value are digested and absorbed more slowly, causing a slower and smaller rise in blood sugar levels. This is particularly important for individuals with diabetes, who need to manage their blood sugar levels carefully.

gi rating sheet

Secondly, the antioxidants present have been shown to have several health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a key factor in type 2 diabetes, where the body's cells become less responsive to insulin, leading to higher blood sugar levels. By improving insulin sensitivity, tart cherries can help manage blood sugar levels more effectively.

Some studies go further to suggest that the consumption of tart cherry juice can help reduce levels of HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin), which is a marker of long-term blood sugar control. This could indicate that tart cherries not only have a short-term impact on blood sugar levels but may also contribute to better blood sugar management over time.

The ability to help manage other conditions associated with metabolic syndrome is also significant, as many diabetics suffer from co-morbidities like hypercholesterolemia and hypertension. 

On that note, it still remains important to limit your intake of cherries, because too much will have a negative effect on blood glucose management.

Final Words

If the sour, tangy taste of their cherries intimidates you, but you still want it for all its goodness, we strongly suggest going the supplemental route. 

Occasionally indulging in the fruit itself will also help you benefit from the fiber and a few other compounds that may be lost in processing or juice preparation.