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Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Tart Cherries May Provide Osteoarthritis Relief

Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the joints. It usually develops in later years, as cartilage breaks down over time, making movement painful and difficult. This debilitating condition is commonly treated with NSAIDS such as ibuprofen or with prescription drugs, but recent research suggests that there are dietary steps that can be taken to treat osteoarthritis naturally.

Most recently, researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University presented a study at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference (ACSM) in San Francisco on May 30, 2012, suggesting that tart cherry juice may be able to alleviate painful osteoarthritis symptoms.

Twenty women between the ages of 40 and 70 with diagnoses of inflammatory osteoarthritis participated in the study. The women drank tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks. At the conclusion of the study, substantial reductions were seen in markers of inflammation. The effects were most pronounced for the women who had the highest levels of inflammation at the onset of the study.

The researchers believe the effects were a result of the extremely high antioxidant counts found in tart cherries, which have been linked to reduced inflammation.

This is not the first study to look at the impressive health benefits of this “super fruit”. Researchers at Baylor Research Institute conducted a study that found that daily tart cherry extract reduced osteoarthritis pain by an average of 20%. Other studies have shown that tart cherries may be associated with reducing inflammation and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes.

Be sure the tart cherry extract you consume is tested for potency. This is especially important if you’re drinking tart cherry juice, as some juices may be watered down.

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