Tart Cherry Juice Improves Memory
Now there’s evidence that this polyphenol-rich beverage may help improve cognitive performance in older adults.
University of Delaware Tart Cherry Juice Study
In a new study published in the journal Food & Function, researchers at the University of Delaware found daily intake of Montmorency tart cherry juice improved memory scores among adults, ages 65 to 73 years.
In this randomized-controlled trial, 34 participants were assigned to consume either 16 ounces (480 mL) of Montmorency tart cherry juice or the same amount of a placebo drink, half in the morning and half in the evening, every day for 12 weeks.
Study participants consumed either 16 ounces of tart cherry juice daily or a placebo.
All participants were generally healthy (not heavy smokers, no prior diagnosis of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, psychiatric disorders, etc.), were not taking any medications that could affect brain function and were asked to maintain their regular diet and physical activity levels for the duration of the study.
Before and after the 12-week trial, researchers analyzed cognitive function and subjective memory scores via a series of questionnaires and tests.
Tart Cherry Juice is a Cognition and Memory Aid
After 12 weeks, those drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice exhibited improved scores in both cognitive function and subjective memory.
Specifically, the tart cherry group showed a 5% increase in satisfaction with their ability to remember things, a 4% reduction in movement time (a measurement of speed of response to visual stimuli) and a 23% reduction in errors made during an episodic visual memory task (which assesses visual memory and new learning) compared to placebo.
They also exhibited a 3% improvement in visual sustained attention (which measures visual information processing) and an 18% reduction in errors made during a spatial working memory task (which assesses memory and strategy use) compared to baseline values.
The juice drinkers improved their scores in both cognitive function and subjective memory.
“Cognitive function is a key determinant of independence and quality of life among older adults,” said lead author Sheau Ching Chai, assistant professor of behavioral health and nutrition at the University of Delaware.
“The potential beneficial effects of tart cherries may be related to the bioactive compounds they possess, which include polyphenols, anthocyanins and melanin. They may also be related to tart cherry’s potential blood-pressure lowering effects, outlined in a previous study we conducted in the same population, as blood pressure can influence blood flow to the brain.”
Notes About the Study
- Compliance rate throughout the 12-week trial was high (94.2%), suggesting tart cherry juice twice a day was a manageable addition to these participants’ daily routine.
- The sample size of this study was small, and larger, longer studies are warranted to confirm its findings.
- Montmorency tart cherries are the most common variety of tart cherries grown in the U.S.
Nutrition in Tart Cherry Juice
There are different varieties of cherry, but manufacturers typically make cherry juice using a tart or sour variety such as Montmorency (the type used in the study), or sweeter black cherries.
Black cherries contain more sugar and more carbohydrates. The nutritional content of the two types is otherwise similar.
Tart cherry juice is rich in various nutrients. An 8-ounce (240-ml) serving contains 119 calories and the following
- Carbs: 28 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 62% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 40% of the RDI
- Manganese: 14% of the RDI
- Potassium: 12% of the RDI
- Copper: 12% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 7% of the RDI
Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice
Less Gout Symptoms
Gout is a type of arthritis that usually affects one joint at a time. It causes pain, swelling, and redness.
A person may sometimes have flares, which is when they experience worsened symptoms, and remission, which is when their symptoms are mild or totally absent.
Those who eat cherries or cherry extract have a lower risk of repeated gout attacks.
A 2012 study looked at 633 people with gout and revealed that those who ate cherries or cherry extract had a lower risk of repeated gout attacks. The researchers thought that this could be due to the anthocyanins in the fruit.
Anthocyanins are antioxidants, substances that may be able to stop or slow down some types of damage to cells. Particles called free radicals cause this damage.
The creation of free radicals occurs when a person eats or exercises. They can come from the environment, including as a result of air pollution. Free radicals trigger cell damage, which is a risk factor for diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, and a healthful diet should include lots of fruits and vegetables. However, there is no proven link between antioxidants and disease prevention.
Enhanced Immune System
Anthocyanins from natural sources may have antimicrobial properties. This means that they can kill small organisms called microbes, such as bacteria that cause disease.
Research has suggested that the anthocyanins in cherries could help fight bacteria. This could help support the immune system by fighting off minor illnesses such as colds.
Research has suggested that the anthocyanins in cherries could help fight bacteria.
More research is necessary to determine whether or not anthocyanins in cherry juice may benefit the immune system.
Anthocyanins similar to those present in cherries may benefit people who have glaucoma. Glaucoma is a buildup of fluid pressure inside the eye that can cause vision loss.
Research looked at people who had received treatment with anthocyanins for glaucoma, and some showed marked improvement in their vision after this treatment.
Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that causes pain and stiffness in the joints. One method that healthcare professionals use to test stiffness, pain, and a range of physical movements is called the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities osteoarthritis (WOMAC) index.
WOMAC scores improved after consuming cherry juice for 6 weeks.
A 2013 study found improved WOMAC scores for people who had consumed cherry juice for the 6 weeks of the study. This was in comparison with receiving a placebo, but the difference was not significant. It is important to note that a corporation that makes and sells cherry juice funded this research.
Improves Recovery After Exercise
After a significant amount of exercise, some people experience inflammation in their airways.
A study looked at people who had run a marathon, and found that drinking cherry juice helped prevent symptoms of inflammation.
For adults who have insomnia, a study has demonstrated that cherry juice helps with quality of sleep and length of sleep time.
Cherry juice can raise the amount of melatonin in the body. Melatonin is a molecule that helps maintain normal sleep.
Where to Find Tart Cherry Juice
Montmorency tart cherry juice is available as a juice concentrate and capsules. Here are some good options:
Tart is Smart Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate
- Each bottle makes 2 Gallons
- Naturally occurring Anthocyanins to promote joint health and muscle recovery
- Natural Melatonin to support brain function and healthy sleep patterns
- 100% Montmorency Tart Cherries, USA grown
- 100% Natural – no added sugars or preservatives
Zazee Tart Cherry 10:1 Extract
- Contains 3000 mg strength per capsule
- Contains 200 capsules per bottle
- Derived from a potent, powerful 10:1 extract
- An amazing value (be sure to compare against actual dosages and quantities in competitor products)
- 100% vegan, non-GMO, and allergen-free
Note: The scientific name printed on the label is Prunus Cerasus, which is better know by its common name, montmorency tart cherries.
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