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Berries and Cherries

Both Acai berries and dark cherries are powerful antioxidants with acai at the top of the ORAC scale (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) which the USDA scientists have developed a way to measure the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals.  (USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University)  Free radicals are an atom or group of atoms with one or more unpaired electrons especially one that is produced in the body by natural biological processes or introduced from an outside source and that can damage cells, proteins, and DNA by altering their chemical structure. Essentially they are unstable molecules, atoms or ions that can cause harm to the body.  (

Acai is a species of palm tree found in the area around the Amazon in South America.  The acai has been a food staple consumed by people of South and Central America for centuries.  Along with other deep red/purple colored fruits and vegetables, acai and dark cherries help to “quench” the free radicals.  The high polyphenol content helps to protect body tissues as well as the blood from free radical activity.

While the concept of free radical activity is a bit complex, it helps us to understand some of the activities that take place within our bodies and things we can do to enhance our good health.

Anthocyanins are also found in acai berries and other darkly red and purple colored fruits and vegetables.  According to current research, ingestion of these substances assists in inhibiting cancer growth, reduce cardiovascular disease, limit DNA damage, improve the function of the eyes, increase glucose tolerance and improve lipid profiles.

Cherries, especially dark and tart, contain powerful compounds that appear to have anti cancer effects and are a great source of antioxidants which include quercetin, genistein, chlorogenic acid, and naringenin.

Research at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore has shown that tart cherries provide more reduction in inflammation than NSAIDS. 5 Cherries also appear to provide some protection against the painful symptoms of gout and may help to reduce serum urate levels.  In addition, tart cherries contain melatonin that aids the brain and promotes memory and sleep.

It seems that our good health always returns to our diets and proper nutrition.  Research seems to support this.  And research also finds that certain foods such as acai and cherries are great contributors to a healthy life through alleviation of inflammation, possible prevention of cancer, cardiovascular benefits, and brain health.