Is Tart Cherry Right For You?
Recently, we discussed the benefits and characteristics of tart cherry and why it could be a possible first line of defense when supporting a healthy inflammation response. (If you haven’t read that article, please go here.)
I also took it one step further by comparing it to curcumin (The most well known natural inflammation modulator) based on their mechanisms of action.
It is quite clear, tart cherry is a wonderful food that in many ways provides a unique level of support to the body. The importance of that article was to understand that not only does tart cherry modulate what triggers the initial inflammation response (much like curcumin) but it also directly affects specific parts of the inflammation cascade. This is a unique characteristic of any food. But, all of this “technical stuff” isn’t what you want to hear right?
You want to know……………….
“What can tart cherry do for me?”
If you look at this food simply for its uniquely nourishing antioxidant makeup and that it’s the highest known food source of melatonin, then just about anyone can benefit from a daily dose.
If you look at tart cherries for all its qualities based on its mechanisms of action, then you will understand how this food is used with a targeted approach.
While tart cherry does modulate the inflammatory response, its results are specific to joint health. Combine this with its ability to:
- modulate uric acid levels,
- aid healthy sleep patterns (due to its melatonin content), and
- support oxidative stress levels
and you have a powerful food with the ability to support a wide range of issues while specifically targeting joint and tendon health.
Health benefits of Tart Cherry:
Let’s use the average person with moderately high stress and body fat levels as an example to help you decide if this food is right for you. Let’s assume (because it is true) that with both elevated stress and body fat levels, pain and inflammation are either a problem or have the potential to become one. The two greatest factors that produce the effects of tart cherry are its unique antioxidant complex and nourishing melatonin levels.
Next, in the previous tart cherry article, there was a section titled “The power of Anthocyanins & Polyphenolic compounds, found in tart Cherry” where I reference two studies that discuss the powerful antioxidant compounds found in tart cherry and how they support this food’s mechanism of action. Polyphenolic compounds have a vast array of actions because they are very complex creatures. It is this complexity which allows them to perform their magic and the term which describes this magic is synergy. To make this simple, these special antioxidants support and modulate all of the actions which the body performs to replenish and restore itself.
So, should you use Tart Cherry?
Yes, If you want to support and maintain the structure and integrity of the human body.
But, a more important question is……….
What is your Intention for using Tart Cherry? (Nourishment or therapy?)
Let’s break this down a little bit further…………
There are many ways you can use “food as medicine”. I have learned over the years, whether using foods for nourishment or in a therapeutic way, it is very much one in the same. True therapy and nourishment begin with real wholesome foods.The end result is to provide the body with well-balanced foods which support your body in healing itself. This is exactly what tart cherries do.
A Magic Bullet?
I am sorry to burst your bubble but there is no such substance on earth that is or will ever be considered a magic bullet. Bullets are not meant to restore and replenish, they are meant to kill. Still looking for a magic bullet?
A Proper Perspective:
Whether the goal is short term or long term, if you picked tart cherry, then you have picked a winner. We have seen in studies (See Can you Sleep and Recover Better with Tart Cherry?)) with runners, the impressive fast onset and short-term results with repairing muscle damage, lowering pain levels and faster recovery times using tart cherry. I also showed studies with an impressively fast onset for modulating sleep and wake patterns. I think it is safe to say, Tart Cherry has a strong short game.
I believe one of the biggest mistakes people make is basing their goals and perspective only on short-term results.
We see it every day with weight loss as the next great “Lose 50 pounds in 7 days” promise comes along. I think most people are smart enough to realize, if goals are not kept in perspective, you are simply setting yourself up for failure. With that said, if you are hoping or expecting that by taking one dose or a daily dose of tart cherry for a week it will take you from bedridden to dancing the cha-cha again, I suggest you not invest in tart cherry.
I want to be clear, I am not saying you won’t see or feel anything in that short period of time (results are clearly shown above). While the short-term results were impressive, those who participated in the athletic and sleep studies know that the need for consistent use will be the greatest factor for long-term results.
How to get the most bang for your buck with
I am going to do something a little different from the norm. I am going to tell you how a 26-year veteran Elite level powerlifter with a messed up spine and neck incorporates tart cherry into his life to get the most from this amazing food. I personally use tart cherry as a part of a formula in the morning and before bed. My purpose is to support the inflammation process and recovery.
To be clear, this is very specific to my needs. I am showing you these formulas so you have an understanding of how to target your own approach.
The morning formula (I add the following ingredients to 5 oz of water):
- 1 teaspoon tart cherry
dropperfulof cayenne tincture
dropperfulsof the following mixture I make myself (st john’s wort, jamaicadogwood and medowsweet)
The evening formula
- 1 teaspoon of tart cherry
- 500 mg curcumin
dropperfulsof the following mixture ( californiapoppy, kava, passionflower, skullcap andhops)
With that said……
I know full well that most people haven't yet fine-tuned their herbal formulas like I have. A simple starting point to eat this wonderful food would be the following 3 simple suggestions.
- You can mix this with just about any food (hot or cold). So, try it in your oatmeal or mix it in with your yogurt.
- If you are a sparkling water fan, simply throw a teaspoon in and blend it up.
- Take 8 oz coconut or almond milk, add equal parts cacao and tart cherry powders, add 2 tablespoons chia seeds. Mix together, put in the refrigerator for 20 min and enjoy a wonderful pudding.
If you desire to be in the game for the long haul and give the body the nourishing tools it needs to support the healing process, then this will be an investment with a huge long-term return. As they say in the stock market, buy big and go long.
About Michael Stuchiner
Michael Stuchiner is an experienced Master Herbalist, the Head of Education for Z Natural Foods, a teacher, and an accomplished author. With a 16-year specialization in medicinal herbs, Mike also has a vast knowledge of tonic and adaptogenic herbalism. Mike has enjoyed a 25-year career as an elite-level competitive powerlifter where he learned to heal his ‘mind and body’ as an avid user of herbal remedies.
As an “in-the-trenches” herbalist, Mike has done more than 85 speaking engagements, consulted with clients ranging from young to elderly, worked with athletes in virtually all sports and with clients who have “dis-ease” states of a wide variety. Mike also mentors student Master Herbalists and will continue to teach the next generation to grow a deeper wisdom of the human body through appropriate herbal remedies.
ZNF Mind and Body Restorative Program (Instant Download)
If you are new to the world of herbal remedies or want to sharpen your skills, Mike is the author of the ZNF Mind and Body Restorative Program. This 78-page, easy-to-read eBook is $9.99 (Immediate download). For more information visit the Z Natural Foods store, or click here to see a list of the important topics.
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