Top 5 Proven Health Benefits of Cherries: Better Sleep, Pain Relief, More

health benefits of cherries

Not only are cherries one of the most satisfying and delicious foods around, they are rated by the American Journal of Nutrition in the “Top 50 List” of foods with the most powerful nutritional content and health benefits.

It’s the deep red, blue and purple colors of the top berries that contain the plant chemicals delivering a potent punch against disease. Recent research studies have discovered the health benefits of cherries include muscle pain relief, reducing inflammation, remedying insomnia, protection of brain cells, and relief for knee arthritis.

Many of the scientific studies on cherries are done with tart cherries or Montmorency cherries — usually sold as juice, dried, frozen, and in powdered supplement capsules. For those seeking a food-based remedy for sleeplessness and insomnia, the tart Montmorency cherry is known to contain high levels of melatonin, the hormone made in the brain that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

The European Journal of Nutrition presented a placebo-controlled study that proved drinking tart cherry juice increases melatonin and improves sleep quality. Drinking the juice resulted in longer sleep times, less daytime napping and greater overall sleep efficiency (the ratio of the time spent in bed to the time actually spent sleeping).

Cherries also give proven relief for people who would like to reduce muscle pain or soreness after exercise or a lot of physical activity. A study from a sports nutrition journal discovered that runners who drank tart cherry juice prior to and during a race, experienced much less pain afterwards. The high levels of anti-inflammatory properties in cherries provided a protective effect against muscle damage.

In the battle against belly fat, cherries can be a good weapon. In one animal study from the University of Michigan, scientists mixed whole tart cherry powder in with a high fat diet. The animals that ate the cherries had a lower body weight, lower cholesterol and significantly lower levels of the kind of inflammation that’s linked to heart disease and diabetes in humans.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes chronic joint pain, swelling, and reduced motion in joints. It can occur in any joint, but usually it affects hands, knees, hips or spine. In a recent study at the Baylor Research Institute, scientists gave tart cherry powder in capsules to people with knee osteoarthritis. At the end of the eight week study, over 50% of the people benefited with good increases in movement and significant reduction of pain.

Gout is a kind of arthritis that can cause an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, usually in a big toe or in other bones of the foot. A study from the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism found that patients with gout who consumed cherries over a two-day period showed a 35% lower risk of gout attacks.

For better brain health as one ages, a study from the journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry has proven that tart cherries protect brain cells from cell-damaging stress in a dose-dependent manner. In other words, when more cherries are eaten, there are more neuro-protective benefits for the brain. This shows a potential defense against conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Cherries are certainly a delicious way to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as to help with a stronger heart and brain and ease insomnia and sleeplessness.  Calcium and magnesium are also proven remedies for insomnia.  Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs is a popular supplement that contains highly absorbable forms of these minerals and is effective for an inability to sleep, as well as for heart health, restless leg syndrome, bone strength, menopause insomnia and teenage insomnia.

Tammy M. of Meridian, Idaho says: “I was plagued with insomnia for five years and desperate for a breakthrough. Nothing has helped me more than Sleep Minerals II — I’m so sold on them I could go door to door promoting them.  I’m 60 years old and have never slept so soundly.”

This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and effective natural remedies since 2001. Nutrition Breakthroughs, makes the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, as well as Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails and more energy.

Melatonin Rich Fruits for Sleep: Studies from Nutrition Breakthroughs

fruit melatoninGetting a good night’s sleep is a satisfying, energizing, and vital part of a healthy life.  However, per the National Sleep Foundation, almost six out of ten Americans report having insomnia at least a few nights a week..

Melatonin is a natural hormone made in the brain by the pineal gland that helps regulate the sleep and wake cycles.  Researchers in recent studies have found that eating tropical fruits such as pineapples and bananas, and also certain vegetables, can naturally increase melatonin in the body and help to improve sleep.

Melatonin levels start rising in the evening and go up to a peak level in the early hours of the morning, perhaps around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m, and then it reduces.  Melatonin production also declines with increasing age. This may partially explain why some people can sleep fine for a few hours and then suddenly find themselves wide awake in the night and unable to go back to sleep.

The research study showing how tropical fruits increase melatonin was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.  Thirty healthy volunteers ate one fruit at a time with a one-week wash-out period between fruits.  Significant increases in melatonin were observed after eating pineapple (a 266% increase), banana (180%) and orange (47%).  The researchers made important discoveries about fruit consumption for those people with age-related melatonin deficiency symptoms such as sleeplessness and insomnia.

Eating more vegetables can increase melatonin levels in the body as well.  Ninety-four Japanese women participated in a recent study.  Half of the women ate high amounts of selected vegetables for 65 days, while the other half were told to avoid the same vegetables.

At the end of the study, the average daily intake of melatonin from eating the vegetables was 1,288 nanograms, while the non-vegetable group had an increase of a mere 5.3 nanograms.  (For reference, a nanogram is a common measurement in research studies and equals one billionth of a gram, and there are 28 grams in an ounce).  Another Japanese study tracked consumption of vegetables such as tomato, pumpkin, spinach, Japanese radish, cabbage, carrot, etc., and discovered there was 16% more melatonin in the women with the highest vegetable intake.

Supplements of synthetic melatonin are made commercially in a lab.  Because they often offer several milligrams per supplement, which is far more than the body makes naturally, common side effects of these supplements can include daytime sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, nightmares, anxiety and irritability.  Melatonin supplements are only recommended for short-term use and are best used under the guidance of a doctor.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, the brain can be assisted in its melatonin production by taking calcium supplements. William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”  It’s important to note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium (in a 2 to 1 ratio) is important to overall health, and that these two minerals should be taken together for best results.

Digestibility and absorption are important factors in selecting the best forms of calcium and magnesium to use. For example, Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs is a natural insomnia remedy that contains highly absorbable forms of these minerals and it’s effective for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for heart health, restless leg syndrome, bone strength, menopause insomnia and teenage insomnia. Sleep Minerals also contains vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form mixed with natural rice bran oil, making it better assimilated than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference.  I was regularly waking up at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days of use my sleep improved quite a lot. I wake up once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours.  This has been a great improvement.”

Fruits, vegetables and absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium are good remedies to increase melatonin in the body and help with better sleep.  For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

Four Researched Tips to Remedy Insomnia and Improve Sleep

remedy insomnia and sleep betterGreetings to you,

It’s Jobee Knight from Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of Sleep Minerals II. Over the years of helping people with their sleep, I have discovered several useful tips that can help make a big difference and increase the quality and quantity of one’s sleep.

#1 – We live in an electronics-oriented world, from computers, to cell phones, to texting, to reading books on tablets, etc. These tools help increase our efficiency and ability to work and learn and communicate, but when it comes to getting good sleep, they can interfere.

One study from a university in New York found that exposure to light from electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent. Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain that helps to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. It is present in higher amounts at night time. It’s best to shut off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime and do some relaxing things before bed.

#2 – Go outside and take a walk each day. The purpose of this is to vary your attention and focus from the usual indoor tasks. The daily tasks one does are usually a certain distance from the eyes. It’s a great help to go out and look at things that are farther away and are larger than what you look at inside. Look at trees, buildings, cars, houses, clouds, etc. and notice things you have never seen before, each time you walk.

This expands one’s attention and helps the body to rest better at night. It’s not necessarily the exercise factor. It helps to give one new points of view. Supporting this are studies from the University of Arizona which found that walking more than six blocks a day at a normal pace significantly improves sleep at night.

#3 – When taking natural sleep aids, its good to remember that each person is a unique individual and doing some experimenting with the dosage can be instrumental in achieving success. At first, err on the side of taking too little rather than too much. Another thing to keep in mind is that natural aids are not drugs and they may not work immediately and fully with the first dose or even the first few doses. It can take up to a couple weeks to see the best results.

For example with Sleep Minerals II made by Nutrition Breakthroughs, the calcium and magnesium are formulated in a softgel with natural oils. This makes the minerals very powerful as a sleep remedy.  It can help with frequent awakenings, teenage insomnia, menopause insomnia, restless leg syndrome and chronic sleeplessness.

James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”

Most people do fine with one Sleep Minerals softgel taken about a half hour before bed. But for others, one is too much and the softgel needs to be opened at one end so that less than one can be taken out and used. If a person takes too much calcium for their body, it can have an energizing effect rather than a relaxing one. Even when less than one is used, give it a trial of at least a couple weeks.

#4 – Sometimes hunger can strike at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and keep one awake. If this occurs, eat something with high protein such as turkey. Keep it in a baggie next to your bed or in a small cooler. Turkey contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid (a component of protein) that has a calming effect. Some types of turkey to try are lunchmeat, turkey burgers, turkey meat from legs or thighs, etc. The brain is able to convert tryptophan into melatonin. Often just a few bites are enough to help get one back to sleep, but eat until the hunger is handled.

As a note, concentrated tryptophan capsules are not recommended as they can create extreme grogginess in the morning and take quite a while to wear off.

A few small changes in one’s life can go a long way towards remedying insomnia and giving oneself the gift of a great night’s sleep.

To your good health,

Jobee Knight
President
Nutrition Breakthroughs, Maker of Sleep Minerals II
Toll-free (888) 861-0326

Natural Sleep Aids: Tart Cherry Juice and Minerals Proven to Work

According to the National Sleep Foundation, almost six out of ten Americans report having insomnia and sleep problems at least a few nights a week.

Insomnia is defined as “An inability to fall asleep or remain asleep long enough to feel rested, especially when the problem continues over time.” In an effort to combat this, as many as 25 percent of the people in the United States try medications to help them sleep.

Most sleeping pills, especially when taken over long periods of time, can have multiple side effects. The drugs stay in the bloodstream, give a hangover effect the next day and beyond, tend to be addictive, and can increase the risk of car and work accidents. They can also impair memory and performance on the job and at home.  This results in greater numbers of people reaching out to find effective natural sleep aids.

In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that drinking tart Montmorency cherry juice results in significant improvements in sleep. The juice contains several plant nutrients known as “phytonutrients” and is also high in the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. The benefits of the cherry juice included longer sleep times, less daytime napping, and increased overall sleep efficiency (the ratio of the time spent in bed to the time spent sleeping).

In the placebo-controlled study, 20 volunteers consumed either tart cherry juice concentrate or a non-cherry juice drink for 7 days.  The researchers credited the benefits of cherry juice to its high natural melatonin content, which a hormone produced by the brain that regulates the sleep/wake cycles, with more melatonin being produced at night time.

The researchers concluded: “These data suggest that consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in … men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.”

Regarding mineral-based natural sleep aids, calcium is also directly related to the cycles of sleep.  In one study, published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase.  The study concluded that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of REM deep sleep or disturbed REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency.

When magnesium is deficient, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was shown in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.

A balanced calcium magnesium ratio is important to overall health and these two minerals should be taken together for best results (in a two to one ratio with twice as much calcium as magnesium).

This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid with calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D, and also Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails and more energy.

Kimberly B. of Troy, Michigan says: “I have been taking Sleep Minerals II for about a month now. I have tried everything out there and this supplement is amazing. I have suffered with insomnia for 2 1/2 years. I have also had restless leg syndrome my entire life and this is the first relief I’ve ever had… gone for a month now.”

For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit the sleep remedy page.