Tart cherries reduce inflammation, risk for heart disease

April 28th, 2010 - 12:54 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Apr 28 (ANI): Tart cherries do have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, claims a new study by Michigan researchers.The researchers used a “whole food” approach to find that a cherry-enriched diet not only reduced overall body inflammation, but also reduced inflammation at key sites (belly fat, heart) known to affect heart disease risk in obese, at-risk rats.

At-risk obese rats were fed a cherry-enriched “Western Diet,” characterized by high fat and moderate carbohydrate - in line with the typical American diet - for 90 days.

Cherry-enriched diets, which consisted of whole tart cherry powder as 1 percent of the diet, reduced risk factors for heart disease including cholesterol, body weight, fat mass and known markers of inflammation.

While inflammation is a normal process the body uses to fight off infection or injury, scientists have said that a chronic state of inflammation increases the risk for diseases.

“Chronic inflammation is a whole body condition that can affect overall health, especially when it comes to the heart. This study offers further promise that foods rich in antioxidants, such as cherries, could potentially reduce inflammation and have the potential to lower disease risk,” said study co-author Dr. Mitch Seymour.

A second pilot study found similar results in humans.

Ten overweight or obese adults drank eight ounces of tart cherry juice daily for four weeks.

At the end of the trial, there were significant reductions in several markers of inflammation, in addition to lower levels of triglycerides, another key risk factors for heart disease.

Researchers say both studies are encouraging and will lead to further clinical studies in humans to explore the link between diet, inflammation and lowering disease risk.

The new study is the latest linking cherries to protection against heart disease and inflammation.

According to researchers, it’s the anthocyanins - powerful antioxidant compounds in cherries - also responsible for the fruit’s bright red color, that link cherries to reduced inflammation, even inflammation related to muscle recovery post-exercise.

Due to their availability throughout the year, cherries-dried, frozen and juice forms- could be incorporated into the daily diet to help manage inflammation.

The study has been presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting. (ANI)

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