Just like many fruits, all cherries are a smart pick—packed with vitamins, low in calories and rich in hydrating powers. But can fruit juice actually stack up? Here’s what the latest science says about tart cherry juice benefits and how it might impact your health.
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What is Tart Cherry Juice, Exactly?
This sour juice is made with ruby-hued cherries that contain 20 times more vitamin A and five times as much antioxidants as sweet cherries.
Each 8-ounce glass offers the following macronutrients and micronutrients, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FoodData Central nutrition database:
- 159 calories
- 1 ½ grams of fat
- 1 gram of protein
- 37 grams of carbohydrates
- 33 grams of sugars
- 35 milligrams calcium
- 433 milligrams potassium
Get this: An 8-ounce glass of tart cherry juice is equivalent to eating about 100 tart cherries! The Montmorency cherry is the most popular variety of sour cherry grown in America.
The Biggest Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
As a whole fruit, cherries deliver in a wide range of health benefits, including lowering your risk for certain cancers and acting as a natural anti-inflammatory.
So how about the juice? It’s no slouch either, thanks to its hefty dose of antioxidants that we mentioned earlier, especially anthocyanins (a powerful flavonoid that gives dark fruit their hue). On an average day, an American scores 12.5 milligrams of anthocyanins, and a single 8-ounce cup of tart cherry juice offers about 60 milligrams. As a result, drinking tart cherry juice has been found to help lower blood pressure, improve sleep by elevating levels of natural melatonin, keep vision sharp, reduce post-workout muscle soreness and ease symptoms of gout (an inflammatory condition caused by too much uric acid in the body).
How Much Tart Cherry Juice Should We Drink?
Even though it does offer a range of health benefits, you don’t want to overdo it. Here’s why:
- Even though it doesn’t taste uber-sweet, each cup of even no-sugar-added tart cherry juice still packs in 33 grams of sugars. This is the equivalent of about 8 teaspoons and the same amount of sugar you’d find in a 12-ounce can of Sprite.
- Unlike eating whole fruit, any fruit juice is stripped of the gut health-boosting and appetite-squelching fiber.
- To score the biggest body benefits, it’s ideal to vary your sources of anthocyanins and other antioxidants by mixing up your superfoods rather than sipping on tart cherry juice alone (or sticking to one fruit, vegetable or juice) as a quick fix.
With that in mind, if you have a specific reason to add to your diet, such as wanting to reap the muscle recovery benefits, we recommend sticking to 2 to 4 ounces of tart cherry juice per day, which you can stretch with club soda or sparkling water if desired.
Where to Buy Tart Cherry Juice
Most supermarkets and health food stores stock tart cherry juice. Before you grab it and head to check out—or pop it in your online shopping cart—flip over the bottle to ensure that it’s 100 percent tart cherry juice with zero added sugars. Here are three varieties you can buy online and have delivered to your door:
- Indian Summer Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice ($3.88 for 46 ounces, walmart.com)
- R.W. Knudsen Family Organic Just Tart Cherry Juice ($5.99 for 32 ounces, target.com)
- Cheribundi 100 Percent Tart Cherry Juice ($27 for 12 8-ounce bottles, cheribundi.com)