DOOR COUNTY – Door County is known for its tart cherries – producing 8 to 12 million pounds each year.
While the fruit may be tasty to eat, cherries may also provide you with some health benefits.
Jackie Lopez drinks a cup of cherry juice about three times a week.
“My grandmother and my mother both have arthritis. My grandmother’s since passed away but it’s hereditary. This is my way of trying to prevent it, I guess,” said Jackie Lopez.
Lopez isn’t the only one who drinks the tart red liquid.
Mary Anderson’s been drinking the juice since she was a child.
“One of the benefits is that it just makes me feel better,” said Anderson.
Jeremy Metzler, a family medicine doctor with Prevea Health, says tart cherry juice can help reduce pain and inflammation.
“There’s been a couple of studies that have shown that it can be better than aspirin or ibuprofen to help with pain and discomfort,” said Metzler.
But Metzler says drinking the juice can cause digestive issues for some people.
Experts say it’s important to pay attention to the label.
“With the juice you think it’s all beneficial and, at the same time, if it’s adding into your diet a lot of sugar, then that may not be the ideal situation,” said UW-Green Bay Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Leanne Zhu.
To learn more about the juice, FOX 11 took a ride to Door County. It’s known as the fourth largest tart cherry producer in the nation.
Country Ovens in Forestville produces its own cherry juice for college and professional athletes.
“We recently just produced the product with the University of Wisconsin for their athletes where we infused whey protein into the tart cherry juice,” said Jeremy Paszczak, Country Ovens marketing director.
The drink is being used by 15 teams. Paszczak says Cherry De-Lite Red with whey has anti-inflammatory benefits and also helps athletes build muscle.
Experts say if you plan on adding cherry juice to your diet, check with your doctor first, especially if you’re taking any medications.