These four simple fruit juices may be the answer for some lingering issues you or your children might face. Since they are fruit juice, kids and adults both love these natural remedies!
Please note: Try to choose organically for all of these juices, as the first 3 (apples, grapes, cherries) are part of the EWG’s ‘Dirty Dozen’, which means they have been found to have a high amount of pesticide residue.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food ~Hippocrates
1. Tart Cherry Juice For Sleep
Tart cherry juice has been shown to naturally raise melatonin levels and improve sleep quality in those that suffer with insomnia or early waking (source). Tart cherry juice has even been shown to be more effective than valarian root, another common (but not as tasty!) natural sleep remedy (source)
Where to buy: We like this brand of tart cherry juice, I actually have it auto-shipped through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program on a monthly basis for healthy sleep month after month. I dilute it in a 1:4 ratio for my kids- just about 1 inch of the tart cherry concentrate in the bottom of a cup and then fill it with 3 inches or more of water.
Tips on how to take: Yes, tart cherry juice is tart! If your children aren’t used to sweet juices, they may chug it down happily, but if it’s too tart for delicate palates, stirring in a little honey and diluting with plenty of water can help.
Tart cherry juice makes excellent fruit gummies too, adding elderberry for an immune boost as well. You can get the recipe here.
2. Apple Juice for Constipation
Whether it’s too much of a constipating food, illness, or holding due to a change in habits (this happens often when children travel) constipation is uncomfortable and unhealthy. To get things flowing again, apple juice can help move things along by both bulking up the stools with water so they are easier to pass and stimulating the bowels to go. (source)
It’s not the fiber associated with apples that does this, it’s the sorbitol. Sorbitol is naturally found in apples, pears, and in stone fruit (apricots, plums, etc) but not in citrus.
Kids generally prefer apple juice over prune juice, and apple juice is usually easier to find and less expensive than other juices that are high in sorbitol.
Another fun fact while we’re on the topic: While fiber does get passed through stools, your stool is made mostly of water, and there is lots of dead bacteria that were populating your digestive tract, as well as metabolized dead cells from your body (like red blood cells). (source) More fiber is not always a good solution for chronic constipation.
3. Grape Juice for Stomach Viruses
The phenols in grape juice are thought to have antiviral properties that show as much as 1000-fold decrease in virus activity, including the noro virus, according to this study from the 70s. Most people know about the health benefits associated with wine, but according to this study, grape juice is even more effective at inactivating the virus.
There is some debate on how effective this is inside our bodies, though. A study in pigs showed that though grape juice did inactivate the virus in vitro (outside of the body) it was activated again once exposed to stomach acids during normal digestion. (source)
Freshly prepared apple juice is shown to have similar effects, though commercial apple juice isn’t as effective. While the virus is not as easily re-activated with apple juice, the apple juice takes longer than the grape juice to deactivate the virus in the first place (source). This suggests that apple juice present in the digestive tract along with a digestive virus may not work in enough time to clear the virus.
If we are consuming grape juice throughout the day, it is thought that the constant source of phenols in the digestive tract can inactivate the virus as it passes through.
Tips on taking: It’s tempting to try white grape juice instead of purple, but more anti-viral activity was shown with red wine than white wine, so choose purple grape juice to get the most benefits. Studies haven’t been done for how much or how often you need to take this, but I offer grape juice to my kiddos if they’ve been sick or exposed to a virus.
Stain removal: Boiling water poured over clothing that has grape juice stains is the most effective way to get the stain out. This works best if the stain has not yet dried. Hopefully it is not necessary to say this, but I will just in case… obviously remove the clothing from the child before doing this!
#4 Cranberry Juice for Bladder and urinary tract infections
This age-old remedy has quite a few scientific findings, and has shown that both fresh 100% cranberry juice and cranberry juice cocktail (that contains a mix of juices + corn syrup) are effective in reducing the amount of bacteria present in the bladder. (source)
How to take: Because I tend to not keep cranberry juice around, I take this as a supplement (see the one I use here). We all know how fast a UTI can hit, and I’ve found that this remedy can stop a UTI at the first sign of ‘frequency and urgency’ that is characteristic of a bladder infection.
Otherwise, most grocery stores have a cranberry cocktail, and health food stores often have 100% cranberry juice. I’m warning you, it’s tart! :) Mix with some sparkling water or another juice to make it more palatable.