Cherries antioxidants have been in the health spotlight for a few years now. This has everything to do with the fact that cherries have been discovered to be one of the fruits with the highest levels of antioxidant activity.
Cherries are a type of fruit originally from the Northern hemisphere. Cherries are the smallest of the Rosacea (stone fruit) family and are of the genus prunus. There are more than 100 types of cherries but they are broadly categorized into two main types of cherries, sweet and sour (also known as tart cherries).
You cannot speak about cherries antioxidants without first explaining what antioxidants are. Human bodies need oxygen for several processes such as respiration, exercise and digestion. These processes that make use of oxygen also cause the production of free radicals. Free radicals are also produced when a person is exposed to pollution and ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that have been linked with causing diseases such as heart disease and cancer as well as causing aging. If the free radicals in the body exceed the antioxidants, a person is said to be experiencing oxidative stress. Diseases occur when oxidative stress causes oxidative damage. This is because the free radicals alter the structure and function of cells.
Cherries antioxidants therefore play a very important role in preventing oxidative stress. The level of antioxidants is measured in terms of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units. These units simply measure the amount of free radicals that can be absorbed and deactivated. It has been found that cherries antioxidants can scavenge and neutralize the free radicals. They can also help other body molecules to scavenge and neutralize the free radicals.
Cherries antioxidants are derived from the anthocyanins, phytonutrients and polyphenols. Cherries contain phenols such as cyaniding, rutin, peonidin, pelargonidin and glucoside. The phenolic acids in them include p-coumaroylquinic acid and neochlorogenic acid. They also contain flavonols such as quercetin, epicatechin, rutinoside and kaempferol.
Cherries also contain Vitamins A, E and K, the carotenoids beta carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.
It has been suggested that the different types of antioxidants in cherries work together and create synergy to offer very powerful protection against free radicals. Cherries antioxidants are not the only reason why this fruit has gained notoriety. Cherries also have anti-inflammatory properties. Cherries have been found to inhibit inflammation by reducing levels of C-reactive protein and nitric oxide. Cherries also inhibit the activity of COX II (cyclooxygenase II), an inflammatory enzyme. The ability of cherries to do all this is directly attributed to the anthocyanins.
There are many other cherries health benefits that you can find by browsing through our huge array of articles on the subject. Hopefully, this information on cherries antioxidants have shown you why you should make cherries and cherry products a part of your diet.