Cherry Juice…the New Super Food?

By: Bel Marra Health | Functional Foods | Friday, March 09, 2012 - 05:59 AM

Cherry JuiceBright, sweet, delicious cherries are packed with vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. A close relative of the plum, cherries have been enjoyed since ancient times. Today more nutritionists and scientific experts are calling cherry juice “the new super fruit”.

Several studies in recent years point to cherry juice as a dietary source for good health. One such study conducted at the Oregon Health and Science University states that tart cherry juice may be a safer way to treat muscle pain and inflammation. The researchers tracked athletes involved in an intense relay. Runners who consumed cherry juice for a week leading up to the race reported significantly less pain following the competition than those who took a placebo. The authors of the study say cherry juice could be a good alternative since many anti-inflammatory drugs can cause kidney and stomach problems.

Functional Cherries

Cherry Juice is now added to other fruit juices and food products, which makes them functional foods. Functional foods are products that have a medical benefit and can lead to good health. A lot of fruits and vegetables have components that make them functional foods.

Interestingly, while some foods can harm the body, functional foods can repair it. For instance foods such as liver, anchovies, and chocolate can increase uric acid in your body, causing gout. Studies show drinking cherry juice is a good way to supplement gout treatment. In the last decade research into functional foods has soared.

High Anti-oxidant content

Cherry juice has also been noted for its anthocyanins content. This is a type of antioxidant that is said to provide good circulation, proper nerve function, as well as anti-cancer properties. The antioxidant benefits of Cherry Juice have been published in the Journal of Nutrition. These antioxidants can be found in other common fruits and vegetables, including raspberries, cranberries, and red onions.

Fruits and vegetables are a big part of lowering cholesterol levels so it is also fascinating to note that research has shown cherry juice protects the body from damage created by bad cholesterol. Studies have attributed this to another antioxidant found in cherries called, quercetin. Quercetin has been known to reduce the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems.

Critics warn people not to suddenly load up on cherries. They say just like fruits and vegetables, not all cherries are created alike. Certain cherries have the anti-oxidant properties that can promote good health, but not all. There happens to be hundreds of varieties of cherries. Another point to consider is how the cherry juice is prepared. Fruits and vegetables can be good for you, but once you cover them is butter or sauce they are no longer really functional foods. The same rings true for cherries. Some cherry juice can be high in sugar and calories, causing a detrimental effect. Nutritionists often suggest that their clients drink pure black cherry juice with no additives or preservatives. It can be found in most health food stores along with pure juices made from other fruits and vegetables. It can be extremely bitter so you simply add water to it before drinking it.
Although evidence seems to be mounting to support regular consumption of cherry juice, medical experts don’t want consumers to forget that there are other fruits and vegetables that in juice form can provide strong nutritional and medical value as well.

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