Tart cherries, often called "sour cherries", have been recently identified as having Melatonin in them.
It has been known that some foods contain very small amounts of melatonin, bananas, rolled oats and corn for example. But tart (sour) cherries, especially the Montmorency variety, have been scientifically proven to have the largest concentration - such a significant amount that it is actually enough to produce positive results in the body.
The presence of melatonin is not the only benefit you can get from cherries. This berry is also very rich in potent phytonutrients including anthocyanins which give cherries their deep red color and act as powerful antioxidants. Anthocyanins also help block the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes causing pain reaction in the body. That is why some people find tart cherries useful in relieving the pain of arthritis and gout.
Other compounds found in cherries are gallic acid, p-coumaric acid, kaempferol, quercetin, ellagic acid - all of which are potent antioxidants.
Tart cherries, may help prevent the formation and progression of certain cancers, revert tumor cells back to normal and lower arthritis, gout, heart disease, diabetes, cancers, brain health, muscle soreness during and after exercise, and weight management to mention a few.
Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant and plays a role in stimulating other antioxidants as well. Melatonin has been shown to effectively raise Glutathione levels in many tissues including those of the brain, liver, muscle and blood serum. In its turn Glutathione detoxifies our bodies while we sleep. That is why it is important to get at least 7-8 hours of good night sleep when Melatonin is produced and released into the blood stream.
The significant natural source of melatonin is tart cherries, especially the Montmorency variety, which contain substantial amounts of melatonin, enough to produce a possitive effect in the body and without any side effects unlike the synthetic form of melatonin.
ROLE AS AN ANTIOXIDANT
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that can cross cell membranes, cross the blood-brain barrier, and it plays a role in stimulating other antioxidants - this makes it a truely unique antioxidant. It is considered more powerful than vitamins C, E and A, because it is soluble in both fat and water and can enter cells that vitamins cannot. Unlike other antioxidants, it does not undergo redox cycling, which is the ability of a molecule to undergo repeated reduction and oxidation and regain its antioxidant properties (in other words, it cannot be recycled). That is why it is referred to as a terminal antioxidant.
Melatonin has been shown to effectively raise Glutathione levels in many tissues, such as the brain, liver, blood serum and muscles.