10 Reasons to Start Drinking Tart Cherry Juice A.S.A.P.

two tall glasses of tart cherry juice garnished with tart cherries
10 Little-Known Tart Cherry Juice BenefitsOleg Begunenco / 500px - Getty Images

When the “sleepy girl mocktail” became a viral sensation in 2023, the main ingredient—tart cherry juice—started flying off of grocery store shelves. So many people wanted to see if the drink would really give them a better night's sleep. It turns out that helping you catch some Zs is only one of many tart cherry juice benefits. This ruby red elixir has also been shown to provide joint relief, decrease inflammation, boost brain function, as well as offer several other advantages to your health.

If you’ve seen the bottles at the market and asked, “What is tart cherry juice good for?” then read on to find out why this superfruit drink is getting so much (well-deserved) buzz.

What is tart cherry juice?

As the name suggests, it is the juice from tart cherries. Also known as sour, Montmorency or dwarf cherries, this variety is different from sweet cherries. Tart cherries are often too mouth-puckering to be consumed fresh so they can be found dried, frozen, or as juice to make them more palatable. However, if your goal is to get health benefits from tart cherry juice, then make sure you select one that is unsweetened to match the kind used in health studies. Avoid brands that add large doses of sugar to the juice.


Tart cherry juice is a powerhouse of nutrients. According to the USDA, one 8-ounce serving provides 91 calories, 35 grams of carbs, and the following percent of the daily value of:

  • Copper: 12%

  • Potassium: 8%

  • Manganese: 7%

  • Magnesium: 7%

  • Iron: 6%

  • Vitamin A: 6%

This nutritional profile is what allows tart cherry juice to furnish the following purported health benefits:

1. Promote better sleep

Tart cherry juice gives you a one-two punch of melatonin and tryptophan, ingredients that are known to send you into a slumber. If you suffer from insomnia or often wake up tired, you might consider drinking the juice consistently before bedtime to help you doze off, sleep longer, and have improved quality during that period of shut-eye.

In a 2018 pilot study of tart cherry juice for treating insomnia, the majority of subjects with insomnia increased sleep time by 84 minutes. Drinking tart cherry juice may also help with better sleep quality, especially if it’s consumed in the evening after a meal of sleep-supporting foods.

2. Relieve gout and other forms of arthritis

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that occurs when there is a buildup of uric acid in the body. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “in 2019, a review of six studies found that tart cherry juice significantly lowered uric acid and led to less severe disease and fewer reported gout flares.” Other research has found that tart cherries may relieve joint pain in people with osteoarthritis, for those seeking natural fixes for arthritis.

However, it’s important to note that the effects are relatively small, and medical experts do not recommend relying on tart cherry juice for “acute gout attacks.”

3. Improve workouts with less soreness

Many athletes drink tart cherry juice to help with performance as well as speed up muscle recovery and relieve soreness but does it actually work? A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published in 2010 looked at pain reduction after long-distance running. Participants who drank tart cherry drink twice daily for 7 days prior to the event and on the day of the race reported that they had less increase in pain post-race, compared to the placebo group, and were more willing to use the drink in the future. The researchers attributed this result to the natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity of tart cherries, which they believe can help protect muscles from damage and pain.

4. Boost brain function and memory

Besides improving the physical body, tart cherry juice may enhance the mind, too. In a 2019 clinical study funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute, researchers found that older adults who drank the juice every day for 12 weeks showed improvements in cognitive function (including performance on visual memory tests to recognize patterns). They attributed the potential beneficial effects to the polyphenols, anthocyanins, and melanin in tart cherries. These bioactive compounds can decrease inflammation and oxidative stress, which, in part, may contribute to degenerative brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. “The effects may also be related to tart cherry’s potential blood pressure-lowering effects,” per the lead researcher, “as blood pressure can influence blood flow to the brain.”

5. Lower blood pressure

Tart cherry juice is one of many foods high in potassium, which has shown in studies that it may help those with high blood pressure maintain it in a healthy range and could reduce the risk of stroke. However, the reduction is not drastic and the juice should not be considered a replacement for doctor-prescribed medication for hypertension.

6. Decrease inflammation

You may have heard of the benefits of ”eating the rainbow.” What gives tart cherry juice its bright red color are anthocyanins. Research shows that these polyphenols can fight tissue inflammation the same way that medication like ibuprofen does.

7. Strengthen the immune system

The trifecta of antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C in tart cherry juice can improve immune health, which can in turn fight off illness. While it’s not the only food to boost your immune system, it’s a welcome addition to your diet, along with the others on this list.

8. Reduce risk of cancer

Because it's packed with antioxidants, which helps play a role in minimizing oxidative stress and inflammation, tart cherry juice can potentially decrease the risk of diseases like cancer. A study published in 2003 looked at how anthocyanins in tart cherries could inhibit tumor development in mice and reduce the proliferation of human colon cancer cells. However, more research on humans needs to be conducted to bolster these findings.

9. Promote weight loss

While more research needs to be done on humans, tart cherry juice could help shed some pounds due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In one study published in 2008, rats fed tart cherries had less belly fat than those on a more typical Western diet. That said, it's worth flagging that a recent study showed that 100% fruit juice is linked to weight gain. For a lower calorie drink alternative, you can add a splash of tart cherry juice to some plain sparkling water along with ice and a wedge of lime.

10. Improve vision

Carrots get a lot of attention for their connection to better eyesight, but tart cherries should not be overlooked. One study found that patients with glaucoma reported improved vision and decreased symptoms after taking anthocyanins, a compound that is found in tart cherry juice.

How much cherry juice should I drink?

Many of the participants in the studies cited drank two 8-oz glasses of the juice daily. This dose should be safe to consume for most people but see Warnings (below).


Always consult a doctor before trying new remedies to make sure they do not interfere with any medications you are taking, such as blood thinners, or adversely affect your health in any way.

Tart cherry juice is high in sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that can cause abdominal cramping, nausea, or diarrhea in some people.

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