Just one glass of cherry juice a day can slow down the ageing process - and may even save your life, scientists are claiming.
A tumbler of 250ml of diluted juice offers better protection against cancer, heart disease and stroke than more than 20 typical portions of fruit and vegetables.
It also stops collagen breaking down, so can help make the complexion look more youthful.
The "wonder" berry is more than four times more effective at killing harmful free radicals - which occur in the body through the process of oxidation - than other fruit and vegetables.
It gives greater protection than peas, tomatoes, water melon, carrots, banana and even renowned "superfoods" like acai and goji berries.
The only bad news is that scientists studied a species called the Montmorency tart cherry , which is grown in the United States.
The humble British cherry has only a firth of the antioxidant levels of the US cherry, grown in Michigan.
But the juice is readily available in Britain, at around 1000 health food shops and some branches of Waitrose.
It is sold under the brand name CherryActive.
researchers measured antioxidant levels, testing what is called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC).
The "superfood" compounds in fruit and vegetables protect against harmful free radicals that are known to cause cancer, heart disease, stroke and ageing.
Foods with a high score protect cells from damage by eliminating free radicals. researchers were amazed by the results.
The ORAC level of cherry juice was 8260, compared with 1790 for the fruit and veg.
Patrick Holford, a leading independent nutritionist, said yesterday the oldest living people in the world all achieve a very high intake of antioxidants measured as more than 6000 ORAC units a day.
The result of this latest study was so high, he said, that he had to double-check the analysis by Knight Scientific Laboratories in Plymouth.
"If you were to combine drinking cherry juice with fruit and vegetables you would get excellent protection," he added. The research, carried out by Dr Robert Verkerk, is published in the October issue of Nutritional Practitioner.
He said: "we had the ORAC score for the cherries independently measured by a second laboratory in the USA to verify our findings."
Angela Dowden, another independent registered nutritionist, said the red tart cherries are among the the family of blue and purple fruits that contain high levels of anthocyanins.
Apart from offering people protection against heart disease and cancer, the species has been found to improve brain function.
It has also been shown to reduce levels of uric acid, which causes the painful condition Gout.
Ms Dowden said: "Drinking cherry juice is something we should consider, as few of us get enough fruits from this family in our diets. Because cherries are seasonal, juice is a year-round way to get these antioxidants. Anthocyanins keep blood vessels flexible, so you are less likely to have a heart attack or stroke. They also prevent colagen breaking down, so they are good for the complexion."
She said a 150ml glass of the juice counts as one of your five recommended portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
A separate study has discovered that cherry juice after a vigorous workout can help to sooth aching muscles.
Anti-inflammatory agents in the fruit can repair muscles that have been stressed and damaged by exercise, says a new report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Researchers in the United States found that it was most effective in reducing muscles soreness, particularly after hill walking or weightlifting.