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Antioxidants in Tart Cherries

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Various fruits are considered to be an important source of antioxidants. Acai berries are exotic fruits that are known to contain potent antioxidants. However, they are rare and aren’t always the ideal antioxidant source. When you obtain the fruit, many of the nutrients in the Acai berry when it is fresh would have broken down.

close up photo of tart cherries
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

This is one reason the tart cherry may be a better choice as a source of powerful antioxidants. Aside from the convenience factor, it may surprise you that in some categories, the tart cherry outranks the Acai berry.

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Antioxidants in tart cherries are much easier to find than those in Acai berries. For example, while Acai berries are primarily found in the Amazon forests of Brazil, tart cherries can be produced domestically. Traverse City, Michigan (U.S.), is known for its abundant supply of cherries; they can grow tons of them yearly. The ability to grow them domestically and in huge quantities makes them highly accessible. For that reason alone, they provide an incentive to use them as a source of nutrients.

At the same time, tart cherries contain a combination of 32 different bioactive compounds (anthocyanins, flavonols, hormones, phenolic acids, vitamins/minerals, and terpenes) that all benefit your health in one way or another. In these same 7 categories, the Acai berry only contains 11 bio-active compounds. Not only are tart cherries easy to locate and faster to deliver to your doorstep, but studies suggest they are a source of even more nutrients than the Acai berry in many categories.

washing tart cherries
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

With the purpose of this website in mind, a comparison of the antioxidant properties of the antioxidants in Acai berries and the antioxidants in tart cherries is beneficial. Phenolic acids are potent antioxidants. Tart cherries contain 6 different types of them. They are Ellagic Acid, Caffeic Acid, Chlorogenic Acid, Coumaroylquinic Acid, Neochlorogenic Acid, and p-coumaric Acid.

Acai berries only contain 2 of those same 6 powerful antioxidants. In summary, not only do Acai berries contain around 33% of the overall types of bio-active compounds that the tart cherry contains, but they only contain 33% of the same antioxidants that tart cherries have, a nutrient that Acai is best known for.

The antioxidants in tart cherries contain 7 variations of anthocyanins, while Acai contains 4 of those same 7 variations. They both contain the same variations of flavanols, but tart cherries contain 10 variations of flavonols that Acai berries contain none of. Although tart cherries and Acai both contain Iron and Calcium, tart cherries also contain Vitamin A and Potassium.

Tart cherries fruit
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

As mentioned above, the most efficient way to benefit from these nutrients is to eat the fruits in their whole, fresh form. As a result, tart cherries gain an edge on Acai because they can be grown in a greater number of areas. This proves very beneficial when time constraints determine nutritional value. Since tart cherries are grown in more locations, they can be distributed to more local areas without having to be packed with preservatives.

If you don’t prefer the taste of fresh tart cherries, there are nutritional tart cherry juice drink options that you might like better. The healthiest tart cherry juice drinks use a juice extraction technique that will retain the most nutrients from whole form to liquid form. They will also be made from all-natural tart cherry juice that isn’t from concentrate and is not reduced to powdered form.

A couple of tart cherry juice drinks have been known to have an antioxidant ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) that is nearly twice as high as most other fruit juice drinks, including the Acai berry. This is because of the number of tart cherries used in each bottle and the nutritional properties of natural tart cherries. Since tart cherry juice is available in bottled form, good nutritional value can be conveniently taken with you. This is a huge bonus since consuming fruits as a meal or in desserts is less convenient and may not be as healthy for you.

close up image of tart cherries rinsed in a colander
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Ultimately, tart cherries provide a large amount of powerful antioxidants and a plethora of other bio-active compounds. The health benefits they provide are better than those of many of the assumed leaders in the fruit and vegetable food group. Locating them is getting to be much more convenient. Access to them in the form of cherry juice is making it easier to add them to your daily diet.

Look for fresh, whole tart cherries at your local farmers market or for tart cherry juice made from all-natural whole tart cherries (not from concentrate). You want one that has yet to be packed with preservatives and one that hasn’t been sitting on a shelf somewhere in storage while the bioactive compounds break down.

Regardless of what fruit juice you opt for, shopping online for an all-natural juice drink with factory direct shipping may be the healthiest since these drinks generally retain the most nutritional value. Cheers.

Written by Matt Kerwin

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