Loving the BITE: Cherry Juice for your Aching Joints
This time of year, as the temperature drops, joints began to feel the pain. After a season of cycling, many athletes suffer from painful joints, gout, and inflammation. And, while nutrition isn’t the entire answer for joint pain, many functional foods can certainly help.
This week, we’ll take a look at cherry juice, how it may help your joints, and a couple of ways to add it to your diet…
Recipes of the week: Anti-Inflammatory Cherry Joint Tea and Tonic
1) Hot Green Cherry Tea
- 2 inches whole ginger root, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch slices (or just get one of the biggest and freshest whole roots available and use the whole thing) OR 1.5 tsp ground ginger
- 9 whole cloves OR 0.5 tsp ground cloves
- 1 medium beet, peeled and chopped
- 5-6 green tea bags or similar amount of whole leaf tea
- 1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
- 4 oz. 100% black cherry juice
- Boil ~ 64 oz.(~2 L) water in a large pot. Reduce to simmer.
- Add WHOLE cloves, turmeric, ginger, and beets (if using ground spices, you’ll add them in at step #4).
- Cover and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add any ground spices, stir well. Add Green tea (bags or loose leaf). Remove from heat and allow to steep 2 minutes.
- Strain (if needed) or remove bags, and add vinegar and cherry juice.
- Can keep extra tea in refrigerator up to 2 weeks, reheat as needed and add vinegar and cherry juice after reheating.
2) Cherry Vinegar Super Health Tonic
- 2 Tbsp. Raw apple cider vinegar
- 12 oz. water
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger (¼ tsp ground)
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 oz. 100% black cherry juice
- Mix all together.
- If you can’t, plug your nose, and drink up anyway. This is a health tonic, not Jamba Juice!
Why add black cherry juice to your diet? If you have gout or arthritis, the reason is quite simple…reduce pain and flare-ups. There are many studies that have confirmed it’s role in reducing both. And, while these studies have not always been conclusive, they are also supported by a huge heap of anecdotal evidence in which long-time arthritis and gout sufferers have finally found relief after years of trying medications. Here’s more on black cherry juice, gout, achy joint relief.
Cherries, Ginger, and Inflammation: You can deter your bodies’ state of inflammation in two key ways. One, you can give it nutritional agents and antioxidants that work directly at the cellular and tissue level to ease inflammation and promote healing (these agents are often used in Eastern medicine and can reduce inflammation and acidity of fluid within joints). Example of these nutrients are anthocynins in cherries, curcumin found in turmeric, eugenol found in cloves, and gingerols found in ginger.
And two, you can increase the production of anti-inflammatory hormones by increasing omega-3s in your diet. Primarily, omega-3 fats from fish have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Secondarily, those from flax, chia, hemp, and walnuts can play a role. Increase your intake of these fats from whole foods forms and fish oil supplements.
Pain: Next, some nutritional components actually have an effect on pain. The primary anti-pain ingredients in these tea is ginger and cherry juice. In two recent studies, 75% of joint pain sufferers, and 100% of muscle pain sufferers, have found relief with consistent daily intake of ginger. These new studies build off the hundreds of years and dozens of studies to support ginger’s anti-pain attributes. As for cherry juice, studies by the USDA, university, and independent researchers have shown a reduction in pain in arthritic subjects time after time, but no mechanism has been determined. If it works, maybe that’s enough…in my humble opinion, our bodies are far too complex and wonderous, and real foods too uniquely therapeutic to understand how and why it all works.
Antioxidants and Cherries: As you know, antioxidants fight the free radicals that work in your body to cause damage to your cells. These free radicals abound with injury and inflammation, and athletes are especially prone to a build-up if antioxidants aren’t consumed regularly. Our Anti-Inflammatory Tea is brimming with antioxidants from cherries, every spice included, beets, Vitamin C in the vinegar, and potent nutrients from green tea.
Hydration: When working with clients with gout, especially cyclists and other endurance athletes, I’ve noticed a prominent trend…flare-ups and attacks often occur when the athlete becomes dehydrated. It makes sense…fluids help flush out the uric acid in the body, and it seems to concentrate if there isn’t enough fluid due to hydration…so, drink water and fluids every day, all day and add 18-32 oz. fluid for every hour you workout. Although I have not seen this link with arthritis, proper hydration is good for all athletes.
A Little Folk Medicine, too: Any reader knows that I love apple cider vinegar, and consider it a miracle cure for a few ailments. About ninety percent of my own clients depend on it, and the Super Health Tonic I’ve shared to combat colds and sinus infections with positive results. What’s more, there are actually good, double-blind studies that show it’s ability to reduce high blood sugars, cholesterol, and waist circumference when taken once per day. Now, after studying arthritis and gout cures more in-depth, I’ve found many anecdote of a reduction of arthritis with it. Remember to always dilute apple cider vinegar at 1 Tbsp in 8 oz. water or other fluids. Why not give it a shot? It’s not let me down in the past…
If you’re looking for Black Cherry Juice, always look for 100% cherry juice without added sugars or other fruit juices added (it will naturally have some sugar from the fruit).
To summarize, you can reduce your achy joint pain and gout by:
- Consuming anti-inflammatory foods like ginger, cherries and cherry juice, and tumeric
- Taking 1000mg+ DHA/EPA from fish or fish oil supplements each day
- Staying properly hydrated
- Loading up on antioxidants from green teas, spices, and dark fruits (like cherries)
- Consuming Black Cherry Juice (4-8 oz. per day) and 1-2 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar per day
And, you can accomplish all of the above (with the exception of the fish oil) with our tea and tonic. Joints are a vital part of the cycling equation. Keep yours healthy this week, and keep turning the pedals for many seasons to come.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.