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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tart Cherry Juice: A Natural Sleep Aide to Improve Sleep and Other Age-Related Conditions

Rose knows there is one more reason to add cherries to your grocery list. The fruit, touted for its multiple health benefits is now being considered as a natural alternative to a sleeping pill.

According to researchers, the tasty, non-addictive cherry juice could be the natural cure for insomnia, a major health problem affecting people worldwide that destroys the quality of life and leads to depression and hypertension.
Psychiatrist Dr Wilfred Pigeon, from the University of Rochester in New York, who led the study stated, “This trial suggests CherryPharm, a natural juice, improves sleep in individuals with insomnia. Given the side-effects of some medications, it is encouraging to have a natural alternative.”
Details of the study
In order to evaluate the benefits of cherry juice easy sleep the researchers analyzed the sleep patterns of 15 elderly adults with chronic insomnia.

A team of University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester and VA Center of Canandaigua researchers conducted a pilot study on the sleep habits of 15 older adults. The adults drank 8 ounces of tart cherry juice beverage  in the morning and evening for 2 weeks, and a comparable matched juice drink, with no tart cherry juice, for another 2 week period. There were significant reductions in reported insomnia severity when drinking cherry juice daily, compared to when they were drinking the juice drink.
All the participants were asked to keep a sleep diary to record their sleep patterns.
The researchers used the entries to assess sleep continuity, sleep onset, wake after sleep onset, total sleep time and sleep efficiency with the help of the insomnia severity index.

Observations by the researchers
It was noted that after drinking cherry juice, participants slept better, experienced less sleeplessness and also enjoyed around 17 more minutes of sleep time.

Experts theorize that the benefits in the sleep patterns may be due to the fruit's high content of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the body's sleep-wake cycle.

The Power of Red
Not only is melatonin linked to sleep, but research suggests melatonin can be a powerful antioxidant, helping reduce age-related inflammation and fighting free radicals in the body. Beyond melatonin, cherries are packed with other powerful antioxidant compounds, including anthocyanins – the compounds responsible for cherries’ bright red color. A growing body of science indicates that cherries may help reduce inflammation, aid muscle recovery and reduce risk factors of age-related conditions.

According to Dr Russel J. Reiter, a biomedical scientist at the University of Texas Health Science Center, though melatonin supplements are promoted as a sleep aide, cherries may be better option for enhancing the body’s own supply of the chemical.
He explained, "When consumed regularly, tart cherries may help regulate the body's natural sleep cycle and increase sleep efficiency, including decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep.
"And, because cherries are so rich in other antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, you get other important health benefits."
The findings of study are published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

Benefits of cherries

Cherry juice is also known to be a good remedy in relieving pain associated with arthritis. The anthocyanins in cherries offer ten times the pain-relieving equivalent of an aspirin. Researchers have also found that anthocyanins are strong fighters against cancer, stroke risk and heart attacks.

Michigan Baked Oatmeal

2 cups old-fashioned oats
4 cups milk
1/4 tsp almond flavoring
1/2 cup dried tart cherries

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 large apple, unpeeled, grated or chopped


* Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
* Coat 3 quart casserole or baking pan with cooking spray.
* In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
* Fold into baking dish.
* Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Serve hot.

Cherry Chocolate Recovery Drink

4 oz (120 mL) chocolate milk
2 tbsp (30 mL) tart cherry juice concentrate
2 tbsp (30 mL) plain yogurt
½ oz (14 g) dark chocolate, melted
1-2 tsp (5 – 10 mL) maple syrup (optional)

Melt chocolate in saucepan over low heat or in the microwave for a few seconds.
Add chocolate milk, tart cherry juice concentrate, yogurt, melted chocolate and maple syrup together and blend or mix well. Chill and serve.

Nutrition Info:
Nutrition Facts per 208 g serving: 210 calories, 10 g total fat, 6 g saturated fat, 28 g carbohydrate, 5 mg cholesterol, 8 g protein, 3 g fiber, 105 mg sodium; Daily Values: 8% vitamin A; 43% vitamin C; 20% calcium; 20% iron

1 comment:

Mike Berst said...

From the cherry growers point of view...

The research is on the Montmorency variety of tart cherry, an ancient variety brought to the Great Lakes area by early French explorers. It is the standard American pie cherry. Most of the production is in northern Michigan, with some grown in Door county Wisconsin and in Utah. It is a small industry consisting of small family growers.

There is a tremendous amount of interest now in this fruit, and many marketers are scrambling to get on the bandwagon and cash in. There are diluted and blended products, mislabeled products, and products made from the wrong type of cherry.

Look for unpasteurized concentrate that has been reduced to 1-8, measured as 68 Brix, and make sire it is 100% Montmorency cherries. There are products on the shelf that are mostly cheap apple juice concentrate imported from China, and there is "Black Cherry" juice concentrate. we grow Black cherries here, and they are a great fresh eating fruit, but relatively low in anti-oxidant capacity.

Pasteurization degrades the nutrition levels, and a 1-8 concentrate obviates the need for pasteurization.

As growers, we would like to see people buy from the growers, obviously, but there are a couple of good reasons for doing that. First, the connection between Montmorency cherries and various health benefits may be the strongest connection between diet and health since lemons as a treatment for scurvy, and as interest grows we will run up against the limit imposed by there being only so many trees in the ground. The growers are re-investing the revenue from tart cherry juice concentrate into planting new trees. Secondly, the value, quality and freshness is going to be better if you buy directly from the grower.

Growers selling tart cherry juice concentrate include Seaquist Orchard and Wood Orchard in Wisconsin, Cherry Ridge in Utah, and Friske Orchards, Coloma and us in Michigan - we are King Orchards.

There are companies that are little more than a sales office calling themselves "farms," by the way.

Expect to pay about $20 per quart - that is a fair price, and keep in mind that at 1-8 concentration a quart represents two gallons of juice. That comes to $2.50 per drinkable quart. There are companies selling smaller sizes at inflated prices so be careful there.