Snooze Better and Soothe Pain with Paleo: The Cherry on Top!

One of the many benefits of the paleo diet is that it can lead to better sleep and reduced pain by utilizing berries, cherries, and other fruits as natural substitutes for unhealthy processed snacks and drinks.

Inflammation-Reducing Juice for Better Sleep

Tart cherry juice stands out for its potential to promote better wellness due to its natural pigments. Drinking it before bed may help improve your sleep quality. A study conducted at Louisiana State University discovered that older adults who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks had an average of 90 minutes of extra sleep per night.

Insomnia, which affects nearly one in four older individuals, could be associated with chronic pain, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and high blood pressure. However, taking sleeping pills to help with sleep may lead to undesirable side effects, such as increased chances of daytime falls and severe injuries for elderly people. According to researcher Frank L. Greenway, sleeping pills may be an option for younger insomniacs, but they quadruple the risk of falls in older people, potentially causing broken hips, and often leading to earlier death.

The Role of Proanthocyanidins

The natural pigments responsible for the red color in tart cherry juice, proanthocyanidins or polyphenols, help the body better utilize tryptophan, an amino acid that aids with falling asleep. Tart cherry juice blocks an enzyme called indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase, which breaks down tryptophan and makes it more difficult to sleep. The body needs to convert tryptophan into serotonin for better sleep.

Greenway explains, “Even though the amount of tryptophan in tart cherry juice is smaller than a normal dose given to aid sleep, the compounds in tart cherries could prevent the tryptophan from breaking down so it’s able to work in the body more effectively.” By increasing serotonin, these compounds may also help improve mood and decrease inflammation. Additionally, tart cherry juice contains melatonin, a natural chemical that has demonstrated sleep-promoting effects.

Pain Reduction Through Anti-Inflammatory Properties

For those struggling to sleep due to chronic pain, tart cherries can also help alleviate that issue. Research conducted by Oregon Health & Science University revealed that the anti-inflammatory chemicals found in tart cherries can relieve joint problems and arthritis-related pain. In fact, these researchers claim that tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.”

In a study involving 20 women between the ages of 40 and 70 suffering from inflammatory osteoarthritis, drinking two glasses of tart cherry juice daily for three weeks resulted in reduced inflammation levels and significant joint pain relief. Researcher Kerry Kuehl commented on the potential for tart cherries as a natural means for managing pain and controlling inflammation without the associated side effects of arthritis medications: “I’m intrigued by the potential for a real food to offer such a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit – especially for active adults.”

Embracing the Paleo Diet Principles

If you haven’t started exploring the principles of the paleo diet, now may be a great time to begin. While it requires giving up sugary soft drinks and other unhealthy processed snacks, it can free you from chronic pain and sleep problems by offering natural, health-promoting alternatives. Incorporating tart cherry juice into your daily routine is just one simple way to enjoy the paleo diet’s benefits and reap the rewards of better sleep and reduced inflammation.