Tart Cherries are Top Super Fruit for Antioxidants

By Heather Callaghan

I know a man who had such severe gout, his doctor told him he’d need surgery to remove three toes. They were stiff, bent up, and crippled from the pain of gout, caused by excess uric acid. Before his scheduled surgery, a friend told him the secret to ridding gout was tart cherries.

It figures, my least favorite food, he thought. So he did what he could stomach: he sat down with a spoon and made himself eat cherry pie filling from a can!

In only a few days his pain faded, his toes worked again, and he cancelled his surgery. He saved his feet, medical bills, and countless hours of physical therapy. Amazingly, this mighty fruit even in processed, sugary canned form saved his feet.

Others have more complications. Maybe they also have metabolic syndrome, arthritis, fibromyalgia and cannot sleep or stay asleep. Cherries, specifically tart or Montmorency cherries, can soothe away those problems. They contain about the highest amount of disease-fighting antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins and minerals, ellagic acid, limonene and perillyl alcohol.

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They also contain some melatonin that encourages relaxation and sleep. It’s growing in popularity as a sleep aid. One blogger wrote that she was finally able to sleep the night through after just a couple days taking the concentrate. Her arthritis was lessened allowing her to sleep even better.

Researchers have found that the components in whole cherries have a synergistic effect to provide even more health benefits. That’s why capsule supplements may not be the best choice. All varieties of cherries contain magnesium, vitamin C, A, E, fiber, beta carotene, potassium (280mg in one glass with concentrate), iron and folate. It’s the tart ones that pack the biggest punch, especially for immunity.

They aren’t just for the gout and arthritis; cherries relieve inflamed response and provide more energy which is why athletes are in love with them now. They can relieve soreness after exercise. The same goes for fibromyalgia pain.

Cherries contain antioxidants like anthocyanins which are the flavonoids that give fruits and vegetables like blueberries, raspberries, beets and cabbage their color. These ward off pain and inflammation, cell damage, cancer, ageing, strokes and heart disease.

Studies have found that tart cherries can reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Quercetin, another antioxidant, helps lower cholesterol and prevents the oxidation of LDL or what is termed “bad cholesterol.” That oxidation can cause the molecules to adhere to the walls of the arteries, causing plaque formation and blockage.

Antioxidant capacity is based off of the oxygen (free radical damage) radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) units per 100 grams.

Antioxidant Levels of Cherries
Cherry Juice Concentrate: 12,800 ORAC units
Dried Cherries: 6,800 ORAC units
Frozen Cherries: 2,033 ORAC units
Canned Cherries: 1,700 ORAC units


Tart Cherries beat out strawberries & blueberries for antioxidants

Tart cherries can regulate and dissolve the uric acid crystals that build up in the joints. They can repair previous joint damage. Tart cherries also have phenolic components that are important for protection against the loss of nerve cell function, called neurodegeneration.

Cherries are most beneficial eaten whole, but tart cherries are more often taken in capsule, juice, concentrate, dried form, or cooked and baked. It’s mind blowing that even out of a can, tart cherries have more antioxidants than strawberries, which also have amazing traits.

Different kinds of cherry concentrate are available and make a great alternative to soda drinks when added to sparkling water. Black cherry is better for sparkling water – it is more reminiscent of cherry colas and Dr. Pepper. Tart cherry concentrate is great over ice cream, yogurt, pancakes and crepes if you’re a fan of incorporating supplements into your food. Although sweet, they actually might help diabetics lower their blood sugar overall. It controls the metabolism of carbohydrates and can keep blood sugar from rising.

So eat some cherries, make a smoothie, try some concentrate, bake a pie (with natural sweeteners) and enjoy feeling better. Stay asleep, keep blood sugar normal, be cold free, heart healthy, run free, keep those electrolytes up, slow aging, ease those aches and pains. Life should be like a bowl of tart cherries.



Image: Wikimedia commons

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.

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