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Tart Cherries May Reduce Inflammation and Heart Disease Risk

University of Michigan researchers recently conducted two studies to determine if cherry juice would significantly reduce inflammation in key areas like the heart and belly that affect heart disease risk.

The results of the studies were presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting on April 27, 2010.

For the first study, the researchers fed obese rats a typical Western diet high in fats and moderate in carbs that was enriched with a cherry powder that accounted for 1 percent of the diet. The rats consumed the diet for 90 days.

At the end of the study the researchers observed a reduction in a number of risk factors for heart disease including cholesterol, body weight, fat mass and numerous markers of inflammation.

The second study was conducted on humans. For this study, 10 overweight or obese adults drank 4 ounces of tart cherry juice every day for 4 weeks.

After the 4 weeks, markers for inflammation and triglyceride levels were reduced significantly.

These two studies are the latest in a series that have shown that the antioxidants in cherries, called anthocyanins, can be effective at reducing body wide chronic inflammation.

Cherries have among the highest amounts of antioxidants compared to other fruits. They have also been linked to lower risks of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and diabetes.

Chronic inflammation gets more and more common as you age, making it even more important to consume foods high in protective nutrients and antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables.

Chronic inflammation can lead to a large number of health issues including heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, type-2 diabetes and arthritis.

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