Friday, 15 February 2013

Review - Cherry Active Concentrated Montmorency juice

Cherry Active juice: a glass full of goodness

One of the nice things from occasionally being approached and asked to review a product is that I personally get the chance of sampling something that is new to me - and which I would genuinely be interested in buying myself later on!

As you can imagine, I enjoy drinking a wide variety of fruit juices and smoothies.  Each fruit has its own special properties which is of value to our health.   Having a wide variety is, I believe, important in order to support those countless processes going on inside our bodies at any one time.  But having said that, I don't normally eat many cherries: there seems to be a relatively short window when they're easily available at a reasonable price and when they are, they're often almost out of view in the supermarket here in the UK.  I have never seen a cherry based drink in Sainsbury's or any of our usual shops.

Health benefits of cherries

Having reminded myself about the health benefits of cherries, I am asking if I have missed a trick with these little gems.  They really are healthy; take a look:

  • They are exceptionally rich in their ORAC values - this refers to Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.  Put into plain language this refers to the ability to soak up free radicals in our bodies.  Free radicals are naturally produced in our bodies and can be helpful in combating viruses or bacteria but they can also be damaging to our health if their growth is unchecked - that's why getting the balance right is so important.
  • The ORAC values are, according to the label, very impressive.  As a comparison, the ORAC value of Broccoli is 1089 for a typical serving; a banana is 703.  A single dose of Cherry Active is a whopping 8250 meaning it's antioxidant action is that much bigger (antioxidants include Vitamin A which is very present in this juice) and therefore it offers "more bang for your bucks".
  • A research study published in the Telegraph (click here) in November 2011 makes impressive claims about cherry juice helping people sleep better through increasing the levels of melatonin.  If you go onto read the comments following the article there is some controversy surrounding this.  Nevertheless there is, at the very least, quite a lot of anecdotal evidence about cheery juice helping people who suffer from insomnia.  Personally I believe every fruit will bring benefits to our health - and everything in moderation and as part of a varied diet: I never get too swayed or bothered by amazing health claims and their counter-claims - there's a lot to be said for a "common sense" approach.
  • Speaking of antioxidants, cherries are said to contain at least 17 different kinds.  There are plenty of other Vitamins in cherries.
  • Amongst their functions is an ability to help our bodies recover from the stresses of sports, particularly intensive and vigorous sports where we place a real strain on our bodies.  I think this is important for any runner or cyclist and especially for those who are building up their long distance endurance abilities over extended periods.  I have guzzled a glass of this after a few of my recent 6 - 8 mile runs and I feel sure it has been of benefit but I know that doesn't sound very scientific!  For each of these runs I have pushed myself in terms of speeds in the interval part of the training runs.  
  • Cherries are also said to have specific healing properties and has been found to benefit those suffering from gout.  Gout is a nasty condition, sometimes caused by the effects of type 2 diabetes and higher levels of uric acid being present in the blood stream.  Cherries (or better still their juice) can relieve the pain associated with this.

Cherry Active concentrate

It is the Montmorency cherry that is used for this drink.  It is grown in North America and bottled in concentrated form for this drink.  As the packaging suggests, it is pure cherry juice with no added sugars, sweeteners, colours or flavours.  The suggested dose is 30mls mixed with 240mls of water and I think that's about right.  Just a small point, I recommend pouring the juice into a glass first, then adding the water: firstly you are more likely to get the dose you want, secondly it will mix much better (believe me!).

You might notice the bottle itself in the above photograph and I'm quite amused, intrigued by it.  A very stable shape, it is not going to topple over easily in the fridge door and it's a curious size: 946mls.  Not 750mls or 1 Litre.  No, 946mls giving 31 suggested servings.  Sounds rather quaint.

This juice is, on the face of it, not cheap at about £0.80p a serving.  Let's put this in context.  Most concentrated fruit juices you buy are Organe juice which have then been re-diluted.  These are produced on a massive scale and, while still good, aren't the same as cherries.  Plus, take a typical smoothie.  A 1 Litre smoothie costs about £3.00 and will contain 4 x 250mls servings: this will then work out at £0.75p a serving so roughly the same price.  Keep this in mind - the initial outlay appears expensive but the cost-per-drink is comparable with other healthy drinks.

My taste test

For anyone not used to drinking cherry juice - and that included me - the taste is a little "tart" and by that I mean there is a sharpness to the fairly strong fruity flavour (one has to be careful about language in a healthy living blog....).  I find it quite refreshing and it's very easy to get to like it.  Certainly if you like any other fruit juice, you'll almost certainly like this.

Where can I buy Cherry Active?

Cherry Active is available by mail order from the Proteins Depot based in Ireland.  They're a friendly bunch and I think keen to get to know their customers and sometimes their customers will call for a chat, rather than use this new fangled internet thingy for placing orders.  ProteinsDepot started as an on-line retailer in January 2012 but the real history goes further back.  It has its roots in a Pharmacy called Allens in Co Tyrone, Republic of Ireland which originates in 1954.  More recently Performance Nutrition Plus was started in 2010 and dedicated to the supply of sports supplements and followed by the launch of Proteins Depot.

Proteins Depot have a wide range of supplements on their website and taking a look around is very worthwhile.  The website links are as follows:

For the Republic of Ireland click here or
For the UK website click here

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