These lovely little berries have become real superstars in the last year or so, and sales of their juice have gone stratospheric. You’ll soon see why!
Cherries are bursting with compounds called anthocyanins, which give them their deep ruby red colour. They are known to work in a similar way to some prescription anti-inflammatories (although they are not an alternative) by blocking the activity of certain enzymes that stimulate inflammation.
Montmorency cherries in particular are known to be very high in a compound called melatonin, which is also secreted in the brain as a sleep-inducing hormone. Many clinical studies have shown that eating fresh cherries or small servings of cherry juice can effectively induce sleep.
The anthocyanins unique to cherries have also been shown to be effective against gout. This painful condition is caused by uric acid crystals accumulating in joints, where they can put pressure upon soft structures within the joint. Cherry anthocyanins inhibit the action of an enzyme called xanthine oxidase, which actually produces uric acid.