Cherries are today's hottest "Super Fruit." A growing body of science reveals tart cherries, enjoyed as dried and frozen cherries and cherry juice, have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene (19 times as much as blueberries or strawberries!) vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate.
A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan Integrative Medicine Program found that a cherry-enriched diet helped reduce risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance syndrome or pre-diabetes. Specifically, the study found that a cherry-fed diet helped lower blood lipids, reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and raise the antioxidant capacity of the blood, thus reducing heart disease risk.
Some of the compounds in cherries appear to aid in diabetes control and in reducing the complications associated with this disease, including insulin resistance syndrome, or “pre-diabetes”. Pre-diabetes can greatly increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes, characterized by abdominal obesity or belly fat, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
Pre-diabetes has become increasingly common in the United States, especially among adults in their mid-30s.
A recent study found that antioxidant-rich cherries helped reduce many of the risk factors for heart disease and pre-diabetes, by lowering total cholesterol levels, reducing triglycerides (blood fats), lowering insulin and fasting glucose levels, lowering levels of a plasma marker of oxidative damage, increasing blood antioxidant capacity, and reducing “fatty liver”
Emerging research suggests that cherries may have the potential to reduce the risk of certain cancers. A growing number of studies indicate that the anthocyanins in cherries may help inhibit tumor development and growth of human colon cancer cells.
Cherries are rich in a phytonutrient. Evidence shows that phytonutrient inhibits the growth of cancer and may help rid the body of carcinogens or interfere with signals that cause cells to divide rapidly, help revert tumor cells back to normal, and help reduce blood supply to cancer cells, thus starving them for oxygen and nutrition
Arthritis and Gout
Cherries contain anthocyanins, which is the red pigment in berries. Cherry anthocyanins have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation and potent antioxidants. There is considerable interest at present in the use of fresh cherries or cherry juice to treat gout - a painful inflammatory joint condition. For decades, tart cherries have quietly grown a devoted fan base of arthritis sufferers who routinely consumed the fruit (particularly as juice) to help soothe their symptoms. The evidence was anecdotal. Today, however, there appears to be scientific evidence to back up the cherry folklore.
The suspicion that cherries might help with arthritis and gout was first proposed in 1950. This preliminary study found that daily cherry consumption helped to relieve “gout attacks” and the pain associated with arthritis. After eating the cherries, the patients in the study had lower blood levels of uric acid. Elevated levels of uric acid are associated with the onset and progression of gout.
Cherries have been shown to contain high levels of melatonin. Research has shown that people who have heart attacks have low melatonin levels. Besides being an anti-oxidant, melatonin has also been shown to be important for the function of the immune system.
While there’s no clear guideline on how many cherries it takes to reap the benefits, experts suggest that 1-2 servings of cherries daily can help provide some of the health benefits identified in the research.
1 Serving Cherries Equals:
* 1/2 cup dried
* 1 cup frozen
* 1 cup juice
* 1 ounce (or 2 Tbsp) juice concentrate
Total Fat 0.5g
Total Carbohydrate 22g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 15%