No Snake Oil Here…THIS is a TRUE Wonder Food!

How would you like to easily and deliciously protect yourself from arthritis, inflammation, gout, and cancer, and at the same time strengthen your immune system, boost fat/weight loss, and improve your sleep?

Sounds like I’m selling snake oil, doesn’t it? I’m not, though. I’m talking about tart cherry juice, specifically from the Montmorency cherry. These cherries are loaded with nutrition:

  • vitamin A

  • vitamin C

  • vitamin E

  • zinc

  • fiber

  • protein

  • omega-3 fatty acids

  • vitamin K

  • folate

  • choline

  • vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6

  • calcium

  • iron

  • magnesium

  • phosphorus

  • copper

  • manganese

  • quercitin, cyanidin, anthocyanin (powerful arthritis- and inflammation-fighters)

Research shows that drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks reduces pain in patients with osteoarthritis and significantly reduces internal inflammation by reducing a biomarker called c-reactive protein.

And for folks taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs (which by themselves lead to swelling in the legs and arms due to kidney-related fluid retention), daily drinking of tart cherry juice helps to reduce swelling and protect against the side affects of NSAIDs.

Then there’s the issue of gout. High concentrations of uric acid cause gout attacks, which result in swelling and intense joint pain. Tart cherry juice helps with this as well by reducing uric acid levels.

Cancer protection shows up because tart cherry juice is bursting with cancer-fighting chemicals, including ellagic acid, limonene, perillyl alcohol, and anthocyanins. These chemicals are particularly useful against skin, lung, liver, colon and breast cancers.

And immunity is strengthened because of the antioxidant and antiviral effects from tart cherries. This fruit is abundant in flavonoids (stellar infection-fighters) which keep the immune system up and running.

Fat and weight loss are also benefits of enjoying tart cherry juice each day. They fire up the metabolism, which assists the body in losing abdominal fat. Research points to all the anthocyanins tart cherries contain for this remarkable benefit.

And the most recent research shows that regular tart cherry consumption doesn’t just decrease abdominal fat and inflammation, it also reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Finally, there’s sleep improvement. Tart cherries are full of melatonin. And we all know how melatonin facilitates sleep. Research in this area shows that sipping 2 tablespoons of tart cherry juice concentrate mixed into a small glass of warm water before bed is a safe way to fall asleep quicker and deeper.

There are a couple ways to take tart cherry juice. You can mix concentrate (2 tablespoons) in a small glass of water, as mentioned above, or you can just drink 8 ounces of the juice. It’s the daily drinking of it that makes the difference, however. And during the summer, be sure to watch for tart cherries in your store’s produce department and at your local farmers’ markets. Tart cherries are wonderful additions to smoothies and muffins.

But for year-long use, I prefer the concentrate, and I’ll buy 32 ounces at a time. The best kinds are always found refrigerated and are available in your health or whole foods stores. You want one that hasn’t been pasteurized and with no sugar added, of course.

At first glance, tart cherry concentrate seems expensive, ranging in price from $20 to $30 per quart. But my response to that is always, “So what’s your health worth?” And besides, we all know how expensive prescription drugs can be (not to mention their nasty side-affects and the added expense attached to dealing with those). So over the long haul, a natural preventative whole food that does so much good for the body, may not really be expensive at all.

With that said, though, there is one concern with tart cherry juice: The quercetin in tart cherry juice may also increase bleeding when taken with anticoagulant drugs. That would be the only reason to not try tart cherries or tart cherry juice.

To conclude, how about some recipes using this delicious fruit? Lay your skepticism aside, try this wonder food, and see if your body doesn’t thank you for it!


¾ to 1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons tart cherry concentrate

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 banana

5 ice cubes

1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Mix all the ingredients in the blender until smooth.

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1 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons tart cherry concentrate

¾ cup favorite granola cereal

½ cup tart cherries or raspberries (fresh or frozen); optional

Blend yogurt and cherry concentrate. Then alternately layer yogurt, granola, and fruit (if using) in parfait glasses. Serve immediately.

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1 Granny Smith apple

½ to ¾ pound tart cherries, pits removed

1 cup strawberries, hulls removed

1 stalk celery

½ cucumber, peeled, if not organic

½ lemon, juiced

Place all the ingredients in a low-speed juicer. Blend all the ingredients until mixed well. NOTE: You can add a few drops of colloidal silver for some extra medicinal properties.

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    Alice Osborne
    DVO Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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