Tart cherry juice, made from Montmorency or sour cherries, is all the rage on TikTok. Fans of the health fad claim drinking tart cherry juice improves sleep and can ease muscle pain and inflammation.

“Tart cherry juice is rich in antioxidants and many key nutrients. It may also be linked to several health benefits, including decreased muscle soreness and improved sleep quality,” per Healthline.

@drvincentesposito

#greenscreen Not only are tart cherries delicious, but they come with a load of health benefits for quite a few different organs! . If you shop at Whole Foods or another health-oriented food store, no doubt you have seen the bottles of tart cherry juice lining some shelves. . Tart cherries loaded with antioxidants and nutrients like copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin A. . Some of this may be helpful when it comes to recovery. Having tart cherry juice leading up to and immediately following intense physical exercise may reduce muscle strength loss and soreness- and may speed up recovery. On top of this, its anti-inflammatory properties give the juices properties to alleviate pain and swelling as well. . Tart cherries are also helpful as a sleep aid. Why? Tart cherries are ones of the few foods that naturally contain melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. A serving of tart cherry juice also contains about 30mg of magnesium, an essential mineral that helps enhance sleep quality and improve insomnia. . Cherry juice is also fantastic for the kidneys! Drinking tart cherry juice seems to reduce blood levels of uric acid, and helps the kidney filtration system, which also helps balance electrolytes and eliminate toxins appropriately. . If you want to build a resilient body, then start by giving it the nutrition it needs! There is information on over 150 other herbs and superfoods in my book Nature's Kitchen & Cabinet! You can find it using the link in my bio or access the link in my story highlight!

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Some research supports the trendy health claims about tart cherries — they can aid in improved sleep, ease muscle soreness and protect immune health. Here is a guide to tart cherry juice: benefits, drawbacks, serving size and a look at the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail.”

Benefits of tart cherry juice

1. Supports better sleep

Drinking tart cherry juice might improve sleep, but more research on the subject is still needed. One reason tart cherry juice is believed to support better sleep is because the fruit contains naturally high levels of melatonin and tryptophan, a hormone that plays a role in healthy sleep, per Cleveland Clinic.

A 2012 study reports that supplementing sleep with tart cherry juice significantly increased melatonin levels and improved sleep quantity and quality in adults.

“Anything that you might take that you believe will relax you and make you sleepy can do so. Sleep is very susceptible to the placebo effect,” said Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital, per CBS News.

Another study, from the American Journal of Therapeutics, observed the impact of tart cherry juice on those who suffer from insomnia. Researchers asked participants to drink 16 ounces of tart cherry juice or a placebo juice every day for two weeks. For those who drank the cherry juice, sleep increased by an average of 84 minutes per night.

2. Eases muscle soreness

Members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team claim they drink tart cherry juice to ease muscle soreness.

Players drink the juice because it helps them “from a muscle recovery standpoint, those anti-inflammatory properties that kind of help their muscles recover,” Ellie Maybury, the team’s head of performance, told The Washington Post.

A review of studies from the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that tart cherry juice might reduce muscle pain and help prevent muscle damage after exercise.

Another review, from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, looked at 14 studies and reported that tart cherry juice can “aid the recovery of muscle function and attenuate soreness following strenuous exercise.”

3. Reduces inflammation

Tart cherries contain anthocyanin, an anti-inflammatory flavonoid which may help combat chronic diseases, per WebMD. Research from the journal of Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that consuming tart cherries significantly reduced inflammation markers in the blood.

In a a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, runners preparing for a marathon race drank tart cherry juice twice daily for a week leading up to the event. Another group of runners drank a placebo juice. Those who drank the juice reported a significantly higher satisfaction in pain reduction and decreased inflammation. Researchers compared the cherry juice’s effectiveness in fighting inflammation to ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.

“The bottom line is those runners who used tart cherry juice had less inflammation and faster muscle strength recovery,” said Dr. Kerry Kuehl, associate professor of medicine (health promotion and sports medicine) in the Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Medicine and the lead author on the study, per OHSU News.

4. Protects immune health

Tart cherries are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that can support immune health. These cherries are rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and C, per Healthline. Tart cherries are also an excellent source of antioxidants, which might aid in preventing infections.

A study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition researched the effect of tart cherry juice on upper respiratory tract symptoms frequently experienced by long-distance runners following a marathon race.

Runners were asked to drink tart cherry juice for a few days leading up to the race. Another group of runners drank a placebo juice. Half (50%) of the runners who drank the placebo juice got urinary tract infections following the race. None of the runners who consumed the tart cherry juice got urinary tract infections.

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Tart cherry juice drawbacks

There are a few slight drawbacks to regularly drinking tart cherry juice, but side effects are rare.

“Potential side effects of tart cherry juice consumption may include gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea,” according to the National Capitol Poison Center. “Cherries are associated with allergic reactions in some individuals, and many people who are allergic to birch pollen are also allergic to certain types of cherries.”

Note that tart cherry juice contains high levels of sorbitol, a naturally-occurring sugar found in many fruits and berries. Consuming sorbitol can result in gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, urgency, bloating, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, according to the journal Canadian Family Physician. These side effects are uncommon and vary between individuals.

For individuals with diabetes, it may be advantageous to note how much sugar is added to your tart cherry juice before consumption — some juice brands add large amounts of sugar to the drink, per Health.

How much tart cherry juice should you drink per day?

A standard serving size for tart cherry juice is 8 ounces, or 1 cup, per WebMD. If you are physically active, you might want to consider increasing your dose to 10 to 12 ounces. Be sure that upping your serving size does not result in adverse side effects.

“If a person wants to add this juice to their diet, I’d recommend that they avoid drinking it daily and instead drink 8-16 ounces a few times a week,” registered dietitian Ashley Simper told OSF HealthCare.

For children and toddlers, limit daily fruit juice intake to 4 ounces per day, recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics. Drinking large amounts of fruit juice can contribute to diarrhea, undernutrition and dental health risks in young children and toddlers.

Tart cherry juice mocktail

In early 2024, a drink featuring tart cherry juice went viral on TikTok. The drink, known as the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail,” combines tart cherry juice and magnesium powder with any sparkling beverage.

@kaylagresh

been in my sleepy girl mocktail era 😴💗✨ save mocktail recipe for later! Magnesium powder in my amazon SF under “kitchen” ✨ #sleepygirl #sleepygirlmocktail #mocktailrecipe #mocktail #thatgirl #satisfyingvideo #satisfyingsounds #asmr #asmrsounds #recipeasmr

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Several people who typically struggle falling and staying asleep claim the mocktail has improved their sleep. The drink is not likely to cure insomnia, but it could support relaxation and improved sleep, per CNN.

“There’s sound science to back up the idea that a drink like this could help you relax and possibly fall asleep faster,” registered dietitian Devon Peart told Cleveland Clinic. “But it’s not a cure for insomnia or a sure-fire antidote to poor sleep.”

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