I’ve reported on psychological research about the color red, showing it uniquely conveys and activates intense feelings, like power and energy. (There’s a reason politicians favor red ties.) So in a way it’s no surprise that the cherry–particularly the tart cherry–is a powerful and energizing fruit. In fact, a recent study from researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University, presented in May 2012, showed that cherries are the most powerful fruit when it comes to reducing the #1 cause of disease: inflammation.
The researchers studied 20 women with painful osteoarthritis, and found that drinking tart cherry juice twice a day dramatically reduced their inflammatory biomarkers–and their arthritis pain. “With millions of Americans looking for ways to naturally manage pain, it’s promising that tart cherries can help with the possible side effects often associated with arthritis medications,” said the study’s lead author, Kerry Kuelh, MD. “I’m intrigued by the potential for a real food to offer such a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit.” The “active ingredient” in tart cherries: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory compounds called anthocyanins.
I’ve written about the healing power of cherries in many of my books…
Less inflammation. In Real Cause, Real Cure, my co-author and I reported a study from the University of Michigan that showed a cherry-enriched diet reduced four inflammatory factors by 50%–reducing both local and systemic inflammation.
Stopping gout attacks before they start. In Breakthroughs in Natural Healing 2012, I reported a study from researchers at Tufts, which showed that gout-sufferers who ate an average of one cup of cherries (20 cherries) on a regular basis had a 50% lower risk of having a gout attack than folks with gout who didn’t eat cherries. Similarly, taking a cherry extract was linked to a 40% lower risk of gout attacks. In a similar study from researchers at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 24 gout patients who took a tablespoon of cherry concentrate twice a day for four months at 50% fewer gout attacks. In four patients, gout attacks stopped completely. “Tart cherry juice concentrate should be considered treatment in the control of gout,” said the study author. (You can order a wonderful tart cherry juice concentrate at www.traversebayfarms.com, or by calling 877-746-7477.
Less muscle pain after exercise. My book Breakthroughs in Natural Healing 2011 reported that athletes who drank tart cherry juice after a workout had 23% less pain than athletes who didn’t. In fact, the Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center for Sports Medicine, Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, has incorporated tart cherries into the training menu of professionals athletes and clients that she helps train. “Why not eat red when there’s so much science to support the anti-inflammatory benefits of this super fruit?” she said.
Better sleep. Cherries are also rich in melatonin, the sleep-inducing compound, I reported in Speed Healing–and studies show that tart cherry juice can help with insomnia.
“What’s especially great about cherries is that they’re available year-round as dried, frozen and juice,” I was told by nutritionist Cheryl Forberg, RD, author of Positively Ageless. “They’re an easy, convenient and colorful addition to the daily diet, from whipping into a smoothie to mixing into a rife pilaf or folding in a sweet dessert such as gingerbread.” For cherry recipes, visit www.choosecherries.com
Bill Gottlieb, CHC