Tart Cherries May Reduce Inflammation, Lower Risk For Type 2 Diabetes & Heart Disease

    New Study Reinforces Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Red Hot "Super

    TORONTO, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - A new study shows tart cherries, one of today's
hottest "Super Fruits," may help reduce inflammation, potentially lowering the
risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in animals. The study was
presented by University of Michigan researchers recently at the Experimental
Biology annual meeting and is especially relevant with November being Diabetes
Awareness Month. As science continues to reveal inflammation may be a marker
for many chronic diseases, the researchers say emerging studies like this are
important in examining the role diet may play in disease management and
    At-risk rats with metabolic syndrome (obese, pre-diabetic) and lean,
healthy rats were fed a cherry-enriched "Western Diet," characterized by high
fat and moderate carbohydrate - in line with the typical North American diet.
Cherry-enriched diets, which consisted of whole tart cherry powder as
1 percent of the diet, reduced two known markers of inflammation by up to
50 percent. TNF-alpha was reduced by 50 percent in the lean rats and 40
percent in the at-risk rats and interleukin 6 (IL-6) was lowered by 31 percent
in the at-risk rats and 38 percent in the lean rats.
    While inflammation is a normal process the body uses to fight off
infection or injury, according to recent science, a chronic state of
inflammation could increase the risk for diseases.
    "We're learning how important reducing inflammation is for our overall
health and lowering the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes - two of
the most critical health epidemics we have today," said study co-author
Dr. Steven F. Bolling, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Michigan
Cardiovascular Center who also heads the U-M Cardioprotection Research
Laboratory, where the study was performed. "This study offers further promise
that foods rich in antioxidants, such as cherries, could potentially reduce
inflammation and lower disease risk."
    Both lean and at-risk rats also experienced lower cholesterol and
triglyceride levels on the cherry-enriched diet, two other key risk factors
for heart disease. The most at-risk animals also reduced their abdominal fat
and total fat mass - particularly important given the link between excess
abdominal fat and disease.
    Researchers say the animal study is encouraging and will lead to further
clinical studies in humans to explore the link between diet, inflammation and
lowering disease risk.

    The Power of Eating Red

    Tart cherries, frequently sold as dried, frozen or juice, contain
powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which provide the bright, rich
red color. "These recent studies suggest the colorful plant compounds in tart
cherries may be responsible for the fruits' anti-inflammatory properties and
other health benefits," says local registered dietitian Lisa Weinberg. "In
fact, cherries may be one of the healthiest fruits you can eat."
    This new study is the latest linking this red hot "Super Fruit" to
protection against heart disease and inflammation. In fact, research suggests
the red compounds in cherries that deliver the anti-inflammatory benefits may
also help ease the pain of arthritis and gout. There have been more than 65
published studies on the potential health benefits which can be found in the
Cherry Nutrition Report posted on www.choosecherries.com.
    The study was funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute, which provided an
unrestricted grant to the University of Michigan to conduct the research and
was not directly involved in the design, conduct or analysis of the project.
For more information visit www.choosecherries.com.

    Source: Tart Cherry-Enriched Diets Reduce Abdominal Obesity and
Inflammation in Zucker Fatty Rats.Experimental Biology 2008 702.7, Seymour EM,
Urcuyo-Llanes D, Lewis SK, Kirakosyan A, Kaufman PB,Bennink MR, Bolling SF.
Presented in minisymposium 702.7, Dietary Bioactive Compounds III: Chronic
Disease Risk Reduction

For further information:

For further information: Co-author Dr. Steven F. Bolling is available
for interviews upon request. To coordinate a time to speak with him please
contact Valerie Mendonca, (416) 642-7959

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