Three cheers for cherries

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: July 13th, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

An apple a day may help keep the doctor away, but you may want to consider adding another fruit to your daily diet: cherries.

A new study performed by University of Michigan researchers found rats that had powdered tart cherries sprinkled over their food enjoyed a host of health benefits compared with their non-cherry eating counterparts.

The rats fed cherries had lower total cholesterol and less fat storage in the liver. They also had significantly lower triglyceride, glucose and insulin levels. Researchers believe the high concentration of anthocyanins [AN-THO-SIGH-ANN-INS], the antioxidants that give cherries their rosy color, may be responsible.

Will cherries have the same effect on humans? Researchers don’t know. But they’re launching a study to find out.

In the meantime, there’s no reason not to add more cherries to your diet.

They’ve long been touted as a healthy fruit. Previous studies have shown that the compounds in cherries may offer protection against heart disease by boosting blood vessel health. Cherries are also full of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and fiber. That’s a lot of nutrition for about ninety calories per cup.

There couldn’t be a better time than now to start filling up on cherries before they peak in early to mid-July. When the juicy orbs are out of season, dried cherries are a good alternative. Just one quarter cup counts as one of the five servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by the National Cancer Institute to maintain your health.