Have No Fear - The Power of Red Cherries are Here!

    - Canadians encouraged to eat cherry red in support of National Eat Red
    Week -

    TORONTO, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - Today marks the beginning of the first annual
National Eat Red Week, a chance for Canadians to challenge themselves to
incorporate more red into their diet, in particular vibrant red cherries. Tart
cherries have emerged as one of today's hottest "super fruits" for their
potential health benefits and great taste. And with Canadians constantly
looking for "super foods" that not only taste good, but can also help prevent
and manage disease, cherries have stepped up to the plate as a perfect choice.
    "People are taking a natural approach to getting the vitamins and
nutrients they need through foods such as fruits and vegetables," says
registered dietitian Lisa Weinberg. "Tart cherries are an excellent choice
because they're packed with unique and powerful antioxidants, such as
anthocyanins, that have been proven to have great health benefits. In fact,
cherries are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat."
    Studies show the highly nutritious properties in cherries, commonly found
in dried and juice form, may help reduce risk factors for heart disease,
metabolic syndrome and some cancers.

    Red is for Heart Health

    Tart cherries' vibrant red colour comes from powerful antioxidant
compounds called anthocyanins that studies suggest may reduce risk factors for
heart disease. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, some form of
heart disease affects approximately eight million Canadians.
    Recent research conducted by the University of Michigan found that a
cherry-rich diet significantly lowered blood cholesterol levels, reduced
triglycerides, and lowered insulin and fasting glucose levels, major risk
factors for heart disease as well as diabetes.

    Ease those red joints

    For years, arthritis sufferers swore by the pain relief provided by
cherries, from tart cherry juice in particular. Now there are several studies
that provide the science behind the popular remedy and help explain why tart
cherries may offer relief for those who suffer from arthritis and reduce the
inflammation of joints.
    "Tart cherries contain a significant and unique combination of
antioxidants that aren't commonly found in other fruits," says Weinberg. "The
compounds found in tart cherries appear to have potent anti-inflammatory
benefits, which may be particularly valuable for those suffering from joint
    Research indicates that cherries help inhibit enzymes in the body that
are associated with inflammation. The compounds in cherries were found to have
similar activity as aspirin and ibuprofen. These compounds in cherries can
also help ease soreness typically associated with muscle and joint
inflammation from exercising.

    Get rid of those red eyes

    Jet lag is a common symptom many travellers are prone to suffer from and
can result in drowsiness and red, tired eyes. Melatonin is a potent
antioxidant produced naturally by the body's pineal gland that helps regulate
biorhythm and natural sleep patterns. Tart cherries are packed with the
melatonin antioxidant. It's actually one of the few known food sources of
melatonin, and because of this, may help improve the body's natural sleep
patterns and aid with jet lag.

    Power of Red

    Research has shown there are great benefits to eating richly coloured
foods - from the blue in blueberries to the deep green from vegetables like
broccoli. Now it's time to experience the power of red. More information on
National Eat Red Week, including featured recipes and tips, are available
online at www.choosecherries.com.

For further information:

For further information: Valerie Mendonca, Weber Shandwick Worldwide,
(416) 642-7959, C: (416) 455-6781, vmendonca@webershandwick.com

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