Drinking a glass of cherry juice a day offer the same health benefits as eating 23 portions of fruit and vegetables, research reveals.
It found 250ml of the juice contained more antioxidants that five portions of peas, tomatoes, water melon, carrots and banana.
Previous research has shown that antioxidants – which target harmful molecules in the body called free radicles – can help prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke and aging.
The research, led by Doctor Robert Verkerk and published in Nutritional Practitioner, compared the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) – the level of antioxidants in food – of 20ml diluted cherry juice concentrate with various food and vegetables.
It found the ORAC level of cherry juice was 8260 compared with 1790 for fruit and vegetables.
Patrick Holford, a leading nutritionist, said “A recent BBC2 Horizon documentary showed the longest living people in the World all achieve a very high intake of antioxidants, measured as over 6000 ORAC units a day”.
However, the study also revealed that eating cherries may not offer the same protection.
The scientist tested juice from the Montmorency tart cherry which is grown in the US.
The type typically eaten in the UK has only a fifth of the antioxidant level of the Montmorency. The juice is available in health food shops and is called CherryActive.