Are Tart Cherries The Ultimate Antioxidant?

Instead of popping a pill for joint aches, consider drinking tart cherry juice. A study reported that the tangy fruit has the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food,” and may help arthritis sufferers manage their disease.

The scientists reported that when women with inflammatory osteoarthritis sipped tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks, their levels of important inflammatory markers fell significantly.

In an earlier study, researcher Kerry Kuehl, MD, Dr.PH., of Oregon Health & Science University also found that if people training for a long-distance run drank tart cherry juice, they experienced much less pain after workouts than those who didn’t drink it.

Another study found that a daily dose of tart cherry extracts reduced arthritis pain by more than 20 percent. Scientists credit the antioxidant compounds responsible for the fruit’s crimson color–known as anthrocynanins–for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving powers.

An animal study also suggests that for the millions of Americans at risk for heart disease, stroke or diabetes, tart cherries may even provide similar benefits to certain cardiovascular medications, though human studies are necessary to confirm this promising finding.

The tangy fruit (sometimes known as “pie cherries”) are also high in antioxidant vitamins A and C, along with fiber, manganese, and copper. They’re also a good source of melatonin and a new study published in European Journal of Nutrition reports that sipping tart cherry juice before bedtime improves sleep.

 

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