While water is still probably the ultimate health drink—we're not saying anything otherwise—a new beverage is getting some major attention for its ability to boost your heart health: tart cherry juice.
Packing not only flavor but tons of nutrients, tart Montmorency cherry juice significantly reduces high blood pressure comparable to what you can achieve with medicine, according to new research from Northumbria University in Newcastle, United Kingdom.
In the study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers targeted 15 men who had early signs of high blood pressure and, consequently, a higher risk of suffering from heart-related problems in the future. These men had blood pressures of at least 130/90 mmHg (a normal reading should be below 120/80 mmHg). However, after drinking 60ml (1/4 cup) of Montmorency cherry concentrate (versus the control, which received a generic fruit-flavored drink), the men saw a 7% reduction in blood pressure after just three hours. That's a big deal: Past research suggests that a sustained reduction of 5-6 mmHg in blood pressure is linked with a 38% lower risk of stroke and a 23% lower risk of coronary heart disease.
And while it's hard to draw much of a conclusion from a single small study, it does point to something that research has suggested for a while: Tart cherries have a bevy of health benefits. Whether you consume them raw, take it in extract form, or drink the juice—opt for 100% cherry juice with nothing added, since some fruit juices can have lots of added sugar—check out these notable health benefits they offer: