Holiday Juice for Holiday Festivities – Cherries!

Cherry Ginger Punch

  • 4 cups organic or fresh cherry juice, chilled
  • 1 Liter of ginger ale, chilled (try organic with real ginger for a snappy treat!)
  • Ice ring (instructions follow)

Juice cherries or use an organic variety and mix with the ginger ale just before your guests arrive. Add the ice ring and enjoy. Yields about 16 servings.

Make a decorative ice ring by placing a ring mold in the freezer and chill it thoroughly. Rinse and return to the freezer until a thin coat of ice forms. Cover the bottom of the mold with fresh (pitted) cherries. Add cherry juice to cover the fruit and then freeze until firm. Add additional cherry juice and then freeze overnight.

The Power of the Cherry with Antioxidant Assistance

Cherries are a festive fruit with fantastic super powers as an antioxidant provider. Free radicals are molecular thieves – they steal electrons from healthy cells. This heralds the beginning of cell degeneration (a.k.a “oxidative stress”), which eventually mutates or kills the cell. This oxidative stress is what causes disease and premature aging.

Antioxidants circumvent free radical damage to the cells, because they provide what the free radicals need before they attack cells.

Cherries contain 17 antioxidants.  These include anthocyanins (protector against heart disease and cancer) and melatonin, (heart rhythm and sleep cycle regulator). These two are some of the most powerful and efficient antioxidants that you can consume!

Research from the Michigan State University finds that cherry juice has the highest antioxidant rating out of all fruits and vegetables.

This score, called an ORAC value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), is a measurement of the antioxidant capacity of food. It measures not only how many antioxidants exist in a particular food, but how powerful they are individually and collectively.

Tart cherry juice tops the list in antioxidant bounty by taking the top two slots in a measurement of 12 fruits. (list courtesy of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and Brunswick Laboratory.) Here are the ORAC values that were found among the following fruits:

Rank Fruit Orac Value
1 Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate 12000
2 Dried tart cherries 6800
3 Prunes 5770
4 Blueberries 2400
5 Blackberries 2036
6 Frozen Tart Cherries 2033
7 Canned waterpack tart cherries 1700
8 Strawberries 1540
9 Raspberries 1220
10 Plums 949
11 Oranges 750
12 Red Grapes 739

Other Nutritional Benefits of Cherries

1 cup of cherries or juice contain only 74 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and 20 grams of sugar. When eaten raw, cherries provide 13% of the daily amount of fiber.

Cherries contain 18% of the daily value of Vitamin C, the vitamin necessary to help the body absorb iron, and assist in the formation of blood, muscle, and bone (among a myriad of other qualities). Cherries also provide a supporting amount of Vitamin K (a bone builder), Vitamin B6 (an amino acid processor), and Vitamin A (eye health promoter). Cherries actually contain 19% more Vitamin A than either blueberries or strawberries.

Cherries contain 10% of the daily value of potassium. Potassium is a salt that helps keep our digestive and muscular systems strong. It also assists in the proper functioning of the kidneys.

Additional minerals in cherries include copper, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc.

Cherries contain a high concentration of phytosterols (18.5 mg) which assist in lowering LDL cholesterol levels. The lowering of LDL reduces the risk of heart disease and angina.

Cherries are a well-known reliever of the gout. The key nutrient in the cherry that assists in reducing the inflammation and pain associated with gout is flavonoids. Flavonoids reduce uric acid levels in the bloodstream. Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid that crystallizes and then migrates to the joints and other body tissues.

Due to the cherries success in relieving gout, they are also a recommended fruit to relieve arthritis and for joint soreness and stiffness in athletes. It is also thought that cherries can reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Enjoy the delectable cherry for the holidays with this tasty punch – it’s sure to please everyone and give them a health boost!

Sources:

  • http://www.livestrong.com/article/18611-nutritional-value-cherries/#ixzz1eqCXmbWM
  • http://www.cherryjuicepower.com/fruitresearchbenefits.htm

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