Tart cherries have become more increasingly popular in recent times.
They are also known as sour, dwarf or Montmorency cherries. They are usually smaller than sweet cherry fruit.
This taste difference is probably the biggest reason why many people today choose to consume tart cherry juice instead of the fresh fruit, whereas sweet cherries are usually consumed fresh.
Our guide covers what to consider when buying tart cherry juice and reviews of the best pomegranate juice brands.
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What are the Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice?
A single 8-ounce or 240ml serving of tart cherry juice contains almost two-thirds of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin A. It also contains 40% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
It is a great source of fiber, manganese, and potassium. Small amounts of Vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, and healthy fatty acids such as Omega-3 and 6 are also found.
The real magic of tart cherries comes from the compounds that aren’t listed in any nutrition table but which are responsible for the fruit’s main beneficial effects.
The jury is still out on some of the supposed benefits, so we will try to talk only about the ones with some solid science already behind them.
Melatonin is a natural hormone responsible for sleepiness. Your body will produce this hormone naturally, but its production can be disrupted.
Tart cherry juice contains high levels of melatonin as well as tryptophan and anthocyanins. These are compounds connected with stimulating the production of melatonin and lengthening its effect on your body.
If you’re suffering from sleep problems or just want to increase the quality of your sleep, drinking a glass of tart cherry juice some time before going to sleep could be very helpful.
Helping with gout
Gout is a type of arthritis that forms in some people that have high levels of uric acid in their blood. This acid can form needle-like crystals in the joints which can lead to sudden and intense pain and other difficulties.
Tart cherry juice won’t be able to cure you if you’re already suffering from this condition, but it can act in a preventive manner.
Research has found that tart cherry juice apparently reduces the levels of uric acid in the blood and that people with gout who drink the juice regularly are up to 50% less likely to suffer an attack.
We have already mentioned anthocyanins and their role in helping regulate sleep.
Some recent research and clinical trials have confirmed that anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory properties which could make them a valuable tool for the prevention and treatment of many conditions.
More trials will be required to determine the effectiveness with each individual condition, but feel free to try it if you suffer from some smaller inflammation/swelling problems.
Considerations When Buying Tart Cherry Juice
Here are some of the main factors when buying tart cherry juice.
Added sugars or sweeteners
Just like with any natural fruit juice, most of the calories in tart cherry juice (120 in an 8-ounce serving) come from sugar.
The sweet taste of naturally-occurring sugar is outweighed by other chemicals that give the tart cherry its unique taste. It is not uncommon for tart cherry juice producers to put in some extra sugar or artificial sweeteners to balance out the taste.
These added sugars increase the caloric value but offer zero nutritional benefits. This is why it is best to consume tart cherry juice with no added sugars.
If you’re buying fresh juice, anything above 15 calories per ounce or 50 calories per 100 milliliters probably means there is some extra sugar in there.
Preservatives are chemicals added to extend the shelf life of food and drinks, and they can often be found in tart cherry juice.
Preservatives used by reputable producers are 100% safe for human consumption and you should have no problems as long as you follow the producer’s guidelines on storage and expiration date.
Still, it is probably a good idea to throw the juice away if you notice a weird odor or if the flavor starts seeming off, even if the expiration date isn’t yet close.
You’ve probably heard the term “antioxidants” before as a good thing in a food-related context.
In the simplest possible terms, they protect your cells from compounds called “free radicals” that naturally occur in your body and are associated with many serious health problems.
Tart cherries (including juice) are incredibly rich with antioxidants, and one study has ranked them as the number 14 antioxidant-richest food. This makes them an incredibly powerful tool for protection against the harmful effects of free radicals.
Best Tart Cherry Juice Brands
Here is our full review of the best tart cherry juice brands.
Best Concentrate Tart Cherry Juice
Tart is Smart Montmorency Cherry Concentrate
The first juice on our list is a full-strength concentrate made from cherries grown in the Taylor family orchard in the hills of Eastern Washington.
With a recommended 8-1 mixing ratio of water to concentrate, this is by far the most powerful concentrate on this list.
The producers are very proud of their production process which results in a concentrate that hasn’t lost any of the chemicals that make tart cherries the incredibly healthy fruit that they are. Best of all, the concentrate is 100% natural.
There are no added sugars, no artificial colors, no preservatives, and no gluten. If you’re looking for a concentrate made from nothing but pure fruit juice, you’ve found it.
Best Tart Cherry Juice for Sleep
100% Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate by Obstbaum Orchards
Just like the previous item on the list, this concentrate is also made from 100% Montmorency tart cherries.
It comes in big, 64-ounce bottles, each of which can produce two gallons of juice. It is good that this concentrate can last up to 6 months in a fridge or even 2 years in a freezer without any additives or preservatives.
According to the producer, one bottle of this concentrate is the equivalent of a whole 45 pounds of tart cherries.
If value for money is important to you, it should be noted that this concentrate is about 20% more expensive than the previous one despite both producing the same amount of juice from a single bottle.
Best Organic Tart Cherry Juice
Tahiti Trader Tart Cherry Organic Juice
This is the third concentrate on our list but it is the first one made from 100% certified organic tart cherries.
This organic concentrate contains no preservatives, no added sugars, no gluten, and no additives. Another interesting thing is that, unlike the previous two concentrates, this one comes in a glass bottle which is by far the best material for storing natural juices.
It also helps preserve the chemicals responsible for the main health benefits of tart cherry, so you can be sure that you’re getting the best possible quality with this concentrate.
The recommended mixing ratio is 4-1 which suggests that this concentrate is similar in strength to the previous one.
Best Tart Cherry Juice for Inflammation
Cherrish Tart Cherry Juice Original
The first non-concentrate on our list comes in the form of a healthy sports drink. It is made from a mix of Montmorency (tart) and Bing (wild) cherry concentrates.
Each 8-ounce serving is the equivalent of 96 cherries and there is no added sugar or GMO ingredients.
This drink aims to provide hydration and it contains electrolytes which makes it a great option for recovery after physical activity.
One thing that jumps out when it comes to this drink is its incredibly high antioxidant content – more than double the daily recommended intake in just one 8-ounce serving.
Overall, it is a great juice for those who want the benefits of tart cherries but don’t want to buy concentrate.
Best Tart Cherry Juice for Gout
Cheribundi Cherry Juice
Cheribundi cherry juice is made from fresh-pressed tart cherries mixed with apple juice from concentrate.
Despite a slightly higher caloric content of 130 calories per serving (8 ounces), the juice contains no added sugars.
Apple juice is added to sweeten the end product without having to use added sugars. Its inclusion is the reason for the slight bump in caloric value. However, the apple juice makes up less than 10% of the total content within.
There is still plenty of tart cherry to be had as each 32-ounce bottle contains the juice of over 200 freshly pressed tart cherries.
This is the juice for you if you want a sweeter tart cherry juice but don’t want any unhealthy added sugars.