The #1 Best Juice To Drink Every Day, Says Science
While we'd much prefer you ate a whole fruit—it gives you a solid dose of fiber, which slows the absorption of the sugar and reduces its impact on your blood sugar level—there are some benefits to drinking juice. (Just avoid those unhealthy pseudo juice drinks that are sweetened with added sugars; some of those pack upwards of 60 grams of sugar.)
Just like how different fruits have different benefits, different juices provide unique benefits, and there is one type of juice, in particular, that has such a wide variety of benefits, we'd argue it's the #1 best juice to drink every day: tart cherry juice. Scientific research suggests that tart cherry juice offers specific perks that may benefit you. Read on to find out what they are, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Improve your sports performance
A meta-analysis of 10 studies in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that athletes who drank tart cherry juice (or took powdered cherry extract) 7 days to 1.5 hours before swimming races, high-intensity cycling, and full and half marathons improved their endurance performance. The researchers attribute the result to the juice's high concentration of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation and enhance blood flow to muscles.
Previous studies have also shown that tart cherries reduce strength loss and improve muscle recovery after intense exercise.
Protect your heart
Bananas, leafy greens, beans, and nuts are rich sources of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. You can add tart cherry juice to that list, too. Studies show that tart cherries can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke thanks to their abundance of nutrients like polyphenols and potassium.
READ MORE: Popular Foods Causing Your High Blood Pressure, Says Science
Help you fall asleep
If you suffer from insomnia, a swig of tart cherry juice concentrate may send the sandman your way. Several studies involving the elderly who tend to have difficulty with insomnia have shown the potential benefit of tart cherries as a natural sleep aid. One of the abundant phytochemicals found in tart cherry juice is melatonin, a hormone in humans that regulates our sleep-wake cycle.
A randomized controlled trial published in the European Journal of Nutrition involved two groups of volunteers, one that was given tart cherry juice concentrate, and another given a placebo drink. After seven days of this regimen, researchers reviewed participants' sleep questionnaires and analyzed their urine samples, and found that the people with more melatonin in their urine reported improved sleep quality and duration.
Ease your arthritis pain
Researchers had 66 adults suffering from knee arthritis drink either 16 ounces of tart cherry juice or a placebo drink every day for four months and then evaluated their pain, stiffness, and plasma biomarkers of cartilage. The study published in Current Developments in Nutrition found that the daily consumption of tart cherry juice significantly improved all those symptoms of arthritis as well as participants' self-evaluation of quality of life. Other studies have shown that drinking 16 ounces of tart cherry juice for six weeks resulted in a marked decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation.
Protect you from gout
The anti-inflammatory benefits of drinking cherry juice or eating cherries may be helpful to people who suffer from recurrent flareups of a particularly painful form of arthritis called gout, which is characterized by joint swelling, most often in the big toe joint. Gout is caused when too much uric acid in the body crystallizes and deposits in the joints, causing inflammation and pain.
Several studies have shown that cherry juice, cherries, or cherry extract may be helpful in preventing those flareups. One large survey of 633 gout sufferers found eating cherries or taking cherry extract for two days was associated with a 35% or more reduction in risk of gout attacks compared with when no cherries were consumed.
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