For decades those suffering from gout and arthritis have enjoyed the natural anti-inflammatory benefits of tart cherries. But reducing joint pain isn’t the only benefits to adding cherries to your diet.
In this post, you’ll learn how adding this ruby red fruit to your daily diet may help with maintaining healthy joints and getting a better night’s sleep.
#1: Cherries for Natural Joint Health
The reason is since the 1950’s, when the first modern day research was conducted in the pain relieving benefits of the cherry.
This research reinforced the folklore of generations passing down the natural of cherries and joint pain relief.
The research was conducted by Ludwig Blau and published in the Journal of Medicine. The good doctor was afflicted with such a debilitating gout attack he was confined to a wheelchair.
It was during the painful experience a friend told Dr. Blau about cherries and their pain relieving ability. After fresh cherries for several days he was able to walk again. This remarkable experience motivated the doctor to conduct his own research.
He research involved a dozen participants in which he asked ½ of the participants to consume cherries and then he recorded the uric acid levels in their blood.
He soon discovered those eating cherries enjoyed lower uric acid levels. Uric acid levels in the body are a precursor for a potential gout attack. The higher the uric acid level the more potential an individual may experience a gout attack.
In addition, another published reported that healthy women eating cherries after fasting showed an impressive15 percent reduction in uric acid.
In addition, to the lower uric acid levels they also showed lower levels of C-reactive protein levels and nitric acid, all three of which are associated with inflammatory diseases including gout and also arthritis.
As mentioned there are a number of published research and whitepapers on the cherries and gout relief. Another published reported indicated that adult that drink tart cherry juice daily for a four week period enjoyed lower uric acid levels.
This further reinforces the tart cherries ability to help lower the uric acid levels in the body naturally.
However, the good news doesn’t stop with simply eating the cherries or drinking the juice, a Baylor University study published a report that taking tart cherry capsules also helps to reduce osteoarthritis pain.
The researchers found the majority of the participants in the study enjoyed a 20 percent decrease in pain after taking the tart cherry capsules. It seems in general cherries help to relieve the pain of gout and arthritis.
#2: Cherries and Sleep
Cherries are an excellent source of naturally occurring melatonin. Melatonin is naturally produced in the brain and helps to regulate the body’s rhythmic patterns. This means adding cherries, drinking cherry juice or taking tart cherry capsules may help with maintaining healthy sleep patterns.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is made by the pineal gland. This vital gland is located in the middle of your brain.
Melatonin is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aid. According to studies, a melatonin supplement will last in your body for about 5 hours. You can get additional melatonin from over-the-counter pill or naturally from melatonin-rich foods like tart cherries and cherry juice.
Why Do People Need Additional Melatonin?
Melatonin supplements are a sleep aid. Many people need them to help regulate their circadian rhythm. Check out some of the reason people take melatonin supplements:
- Travelers with jet lag
- Swing shift workers
- People with dementia
- People who are blind
So let’s learn more about melatonin and when is the best time to get additional into your body?
How Does Melatonin Work?
The pineal gland naturally produces nightly. It is produced when your body is exposed to darkness. Melatonin controls your circadian rhythm. Basically, as levels of melatonin increase at night, it makes you feel tired and as the sun rises, it naturally begins to decrease; thus, helping to wake you up in the morning.
Now let’s look a little closer on your body works tirelessly to produce melatonin nightly. The pineal gland often referred to as your “Third Eye”. It is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN.
The SCN is comprised of a group of neurons, also called nerve cells. Basically, this specific group controls your body clock. Your body and brain are truly an amazing organic machine.
During the day, your pineal gland isn’t producing any melatonin. The reason is during the day, the retina in your eyes is sending signals to your SCN. The SCN interprets this information and tells the pineal gland to stop making melatonin. This is way you wake up and feel less tired during the day.
At night the opposite happens. As darkness approaches, your “Third Eye” receives signals from your retina and instructs the pineal gland to produce melatonin.
How Long Does It Take Melatonin to Work?
Melatonin is a water-based antioxidant. This means it can penetrate both water and fat cells. Thus, melatonin is quickly absorbed into the body. According the published research, it takes about an hour to reach peak levels. It is about the 1-hour mark, you should beginning to feel sleepy.
Where to Get Melatonin?
You can either get over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aid. A number of different brands of melatonin can be found in your local drugstore or pharmacy. The supplements are available in pill, liquid, or chewable forms.
Or, you can get melatonin from a natural source. The natural source of melatonin is the first choice for many seeking a natural sleep aid. Here is a list of the top foods containing natural melatonin.
Top Sources of Naturally Occurring Melatonin
Tart cherry juice – 85 nanograms per serving. Tart cherries are nature top source of naturally occurring melatonin.
Walnuts – 2.5 to 4.5 nanograms per gram
Sunflower seeds – 2.5 to 4.5 nanograms per gram
Cucumbers – 4 nanograms per gram – Check out your local farmers market for fresh cucumbers.
Natural food sources of melatonin are one of best ways to get this powerful antioxidant into your body. The reason is eating healthy food to your health is a lot better than taking a bunch of synthetic ingredients in pill form. That is why many turn to drinking a glass of cherry juice before bed to enjoy the natural melatonin contained in each great tasting and healthy serving.
So the question is what is the best way to enjoy the pain relieving and sleep benefits properties of this fruit? People can take the fresh, the juice and the capsules. So let’s take a closer look at each.
The Fresh Fruit:
The fresh cherries are only available a few weeks during the summer harvest season. In addition, you would have to eat a lot of the fresh option to get the same concentrated benefits of the juice or capsules.
It takes the juice of approximately 100 cherries to make juice one ounce of the tart cherry juice concentrate. This means those drinking the juice enjoy a concentrated benefits of tart cherries, with only about 15 grams of natural sugar.
Finally, the cherry capsules are both convenient, available year round but also delivered the skin, the pulp and the juice of the fruit. In essence those taking the capsules daily enjoy the whole fruit with less than one gram of sugar.
Also, they make an excellent choice for travel since they don’t need to be refrigerated after opening the bottle like the cherry juice concentrate.
As more and more research is published about the natural health benefits of tart cherries people will be looking for the many ways to enjoy that arthritis and gout relief benefits of cherry juice, capsules and the fresh fruit.