The Brain-Boosting, Sleep-Improving Mocktail We're Sipping on Right Now

tart cherry
Photo Credit: Marti Sans

by Isadora Baum

Tart cherry juice makes for a delicious, thirst-quenching beverage that has that balance of sweet and tart. Here, it’s paired with lime juice and seltzer for a refreshing mocktail that screams spring. Even better? Tart cherry juice is also good for your health — like, really good. This is largely due to high levels of polyphenols, specifically anthocyanins, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. But tart cherry juice is also a good source of potassium and melatonin.

Here are five healthy reasons to fill up your cup.

Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice

1. It’s good for your heart and your brain.

Heart disease and degenerative brain disorders and heart disease are both thought to occur from free radical damage in the body, and antioxidants work to reverse and prevent the damage. “Increasing antioxidant intake may have a protective effect when it comes to these diseases and could improve overall brain and heart function when consumed consistently,” says Beth (Miller) McCall, MS, RD, LD, CSSD, sports dietitian, Director of Sports Nutrition for Duke University

A recent study of older adults who drank tart cherry juice for 12 consecutive weeks, found significant benefits for both blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. “Our findings suggest that tart cherry juice could be an easy and effective way to add more nutrient-rich fruit to the diet and maintain heart health,” lead researcher Sheau Ching Chai, PhD, RD said.

2. It may improve muscle recovery.

Sipping on tart cherry juice or add it to a smoothie post-workout may help you recover faster, according to a newly published review article that looked at the effects of supplementation in the form of juice, powder, and even tablets. “It found moderate improvements in recovery of both muscle strength and power, as well as slight but significant reductions in muscle soreness,” says Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN. The most significant effects were for recovering from jump height training and sprinting, which suggests the most benefits to fast-twitch muscle fibers.

3. It reduces joint pain and stiffness.

Due to the high level of antioxidants, individuals suffering from chronic arthritis may experience reduced joint pain and stiffness. “One study found that drinking 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice daily for six weeks resulted in moderate relief from knee pain in those with osteoarthritis,” says Jones.

4. It can help you sleep longer and better.

Its natural melatonin content, as well as compounds that help to create melatonin naturally, means tart cherry juice may improve sleep. And not just sleep duration! Expect improved sleep quality after as few 7 days.

5. It can boost your immune system.

Due to antioxidants and high vitamin content, tart cherry juice can keep the sniffles away. What’s more, that extra sleep your getting? That will also positively impact your immune system. Win-win!

Tart Cherry and Lime Juice Mocktail

  • Serves: 1
  • Prep Time:
  • PRINT Print This Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce tart cherry juice concentrate
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime
  • 4 ounces seltzer
  • Garnish: lime slice or twist

Directions

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the cherry juice concentrate, lime juice and seltzer.
  2. Shake until well chilled for about 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with the lime slice or twist and serve.