Powerful Reds

February 14, 2012
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

The miracle of anthocyanins for a happy heart!

What do the juices of tart cherries (Montmorency), pomegranate, and cran-water have in common?

They are three of the most heart healing beverages on the planet thanks to the particular pigment they all contain, known as anthocyanins. These natural antioxidant compounds are tops when it comes to relieving inflammation. But in addition to their pain relieving benefits, these brightly colored pigments can help lower the risk of both heart attack and stroke.

Tart cherry juice, pomegranate juice, and cran-water also offer a myriad of added health bonuses to their heart smart claims to fame.  Here are just some of them:

Tart Cherry Juice

Besides being a wonderful remedy for gout and joint pain, tart cherry juice contains significant quantities of melatonin, the antioxidant hormone produced by the pineal gland. In fact, they contain even more than is normally found in the blood. That was the surprising discovery made by the University of Texas Health Science Center’s Dr. Russel Reiter, who has been studying melatonin for more than thirty years. Melatonin plays a significant role in the production of the body’s own potent free radical scavengers like glutathione. It also rules our circadian rhythms, which supply us with helpful substances that allow us to sleep and encourage us to wake up.

So, to help ward off heart disease and get a good night’s sleep, aim for two to three servings a week of 8 ounces of cherry juice – diluted half and half with water to reduce the concentration of the natural sugar. If you are a Fat Flusher and want to try the tart cherry juice in your smoothies, I suggest you eliminate any additional fruit.

Pomegranate Juice

Clinical studies have shown that pomegranate juice, similar in some respects to cranberry juice, has demonstrated incredibly high antioxidant activity. In fact, only 4 ounces of unsweetened pomegranate juice per day can help reduce, and may even reverse, arterial lesions. Published studies in highly reputable journals continue to reveal the amazingly positive impact of pomegranate juice intake on cardiovascular health. In addition to nurturing a healthy heart, this particular ruby nectar has also been known to function as a natural “Viagra.”

For Fat Flushers who would like an alternative to cran-water, mix 30 ounces of purified water with two ounces of unsweetened pomegranate juice for a quart-size serving.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberries have so many remarkable benefits, it’s hard to know where to start. Since I first began researching this miracle fruit over 20 years ago, a host of new cran benefits have come to light. Here’s a quick review:

  • Cranberry juice may help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or the “good” cholesterol, according to research presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in April 2004. A study was conducted suggesting that drinking three glasses of cranberry juice a day might reduce heart disease by 40 percent!
  • Gum disease—the gateway to many other infections—also seems to respond well to the humble cranberry. Dental plaque is a breeding ground for bacteria and other micro-organisms that can serve as precursors to a wide range of diseases. Various forms of cranberry seem able to help clear bacteria from the mouths of experimental subjects.
  • Among the most potent elements in cranberries are polyphenols, a kind of plant-based antioxidant that has powerful health-inducing effects. Laboratories have shown that 8 ounces of cranberry juice contain 567 milligrams of polyphenols—compared to .53 milligrams in apple juice and 400 milligrams in red wine. Just 2 ounces of fresh cranberries contain 373 milligrams of polyphenols, more than much larger servings of oranges, broccoli, blueberries, or strawberries.


Watch my “vlog” below to hear more of what I’ve learned about this crimson jewel:

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Tobey

    Thanks Dr. Gittleman. I would appreciate clarification on the effect of pasteurization on these juices in relation to the health benefits you mentioned. Doesn’t it make buying juice a total waste of money?

  2. administrator

    Tobey — While we would certainly agree that freshly made juices contain the highest amount of enzymes and nutrients, pasteurization is mandatory by the FDA.

  3. Mary

    Dr. Ann Louise; my husband & I drink the Montmorency cherry juice daily and we are planning a trip later this year. Since we cannot take the juice in flight w/us, would the dried cherries have the same benefit as the juice?? We order our juice from the Rowley’s South Ridge Farms in Santaquin, UT, so maybe this is a question I should be asking them. Thank you.

  4. Angelik

    I have been very successful with the Fat Flush Diet, had lost 30 lbs. I was unclear on the cranwater drink beyond the 1st Phase though. I was on Phase 1 for 4 weeks, then I drank the cranberry cocktail (4oz cranberry & 4oz water withground flaxseed) twice daily.
    Is the 64oz cranwater supposed to be taken during Phase 2 and how about Phase 3?
    For some reason, I didn’t quite understand that in the book. I believe it gave it as an option.
    Thank you for your suggestion.

  5. Paula Kelly

    I am just about to start on your Fat Flus program, however, I suffer from gout and am wondering if the Cherry Juice might be a better choice for me then Cranberry Juice. I have just recovered from a severe attack, so am somewhat hesitant. I’d truly would appreciate a response before I start…Many, many thanks.

    • Sierra

      Hi Paula,
      Tart Cherry Juice is indeed very good for gout. It is also rich in antioxidants, though not so much as cranberry. Tart cherries are higher in sugar, too, so we cannot guarantee the same results. Try using the same dilution as the cran water recipe!


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