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Study reinforces benefits of tart cherries


April 20, 2009
By Marg Land


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sourcherryApril 20, 2009, New Orleans, LA – Eating tart cherries can boost
antioxidant activity in the body, according to new University of
Michigan research.

April 20, 2009, New Orleans, LA – Eating tart cherries can boost antioxidant activity in the body, according to new University of Michigan research.

sourcherry 
 Montmorency cherries. 

In the study, which was reported at the 2009 Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans, healthy adults who ate a cup and a half of frozen cherries had increased levels of antioxidants, specifically five different anthocyanins – the natural antioxidants that give cherries their red colour.

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Twelve healthy adults, aged 18 to 25 years, were randomly assigned to eat either one and a half cups or three cups of frozen tart cherries. Researchers analyzed participants’ blood and urine at regular intervals after they ate the cherries and found increased antioxidant activity for up to 12 hours after eating cherries.

“This study documents for the first time that the antioxidants in tart cherries do make it into the human bloodstream and is coupled with increased antioxidant activity that could have a positive impact,” said Dr. Sara L. Warber, co-director of University of Michigan Integrative Medicine and principal investigator of the study.

Previous animal studies have linked cherries and cherry compounds to important benefits, including helping to lower risk factors for heart disease and impacting inflammation. Dr. Warber’s colleagues at the University of Michigan have previously shown in animals that cherry-enriched diets can lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce triglycerides, an unhealthy type of blood fat. Other benefits of cherries found in animal studies include a 14 per cent lower body weight and less “belly fat,” the type linked with increased heart disease risk and type 2 diabetes.