The saying “eat the rainbow” refers to the importance of eating a variety of different coloured fresh fruits and vegetables. This is because fresh fruits and vegetables contain a variety of antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, each of which has a different protective effect. Each different coloured fruit or vegetable contains a different type of polyphenol.
Antioxidants help neutralise free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that have lost an electron and move around the body by capturing electrons from other, more stable oxygen molecules. In this way, free radicals can damage our cells and DNA. If they are able to do this regularly, it can lead to chronic inflammation, which in turn can lead to oxidative stress and thus to chronic diseases such as cancer.
Cherries have the ability to be both deliciously sweet and incredibly tart, and are rich in antioxidant polyphenols called anthocyanins. These give cherries their dark red colour and are also responsible for giving red wine its deep ruby red colour and have antioxidant properties when consumed in moderation.
Like all polyphenols, anthocyanins have a protective effect against cancer by helping to neutralise free radicals and prevent chronic diseases caused by inflammation and oxidative stress.