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Multiple Studies Draw Attention to Benefits of Tart Cherries

A series of three studies presented the week of April 9, 2011 at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in Washington, DC highlighted a large list of health benefits associated with tart cherries. The studies were conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, University of Arizona and Brunswick Laboratories.

The first study found that drinking eight ounces of tart cherry juice may significantly reduce inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk among overweight and obese adults. The study included 10 adults, all of whom saw decreases in uric acid, which is linked to inflammation, as well as high triglycerides which are linked to heart disease.

In another study, researchers gave mice a tart cherry powder for five months. The powder constituted 1% of their overall diet. The researchers found C reactive protein and other markers of inflammation were reduced by 36%. Additionally, total cholesterol levels were reduced by 26%. Interestingly, the mice receiving the cherry diets had a 65% reduction in early death, which the researchers are attributing to improved cardiovascular health.

The final study looked deeper into the antioxidant capacity of cherries and found that just one cup of freeze dried tart cherries contained an ORAC value of over 10,000. Not only are these extremely high levels but tart cherries also had a diverse combination of antioxidants and phytochemicals.

These studies provide the latest evidence to back the various health benefits of tart cherries, particularly in relation to reducing inflammation and the risk of heart disease. Previous studies have also shown that tart cherries may lower the risks of some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and diabetes.

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