According to researchers, the daily consumption of tart cherries has the potential to reduce the pain associated with joint inflammation. Tart cherries naturally contain anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, which may prevent inflammation in the body.
"Anthocyanins help to shut down the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation in the first place, so cherries can prevent and treat many kinds of pain," says Muraleedharan Nair, the lead researcher on the cherry project at Michigan State University.
Dr. Russel Reiter, a neuronendocrinologist with the University of Texas Health Science Center, believes that the pain relief may not come from a specific antioxidant in the cherries, but from the synergistic effect of all the natural compounds in cherries. The skin of Montmorency tart cherries holds most of the essential antioxidants' health benefits.
A Cherry a Day …
Antioxidants are vitamins, mineral and other compounds found naturally in everyday food, especially fruits and vegetables. Some of the best-known antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E. These powerful antioxidants fight free radicals within the body, and therefore slow down the natural oxidation process that occurs in the body.
What should consumers look for in selecting tart-cherry products? For best results, industry experts suggest that consumers check the product label to make sure that it contains significant quantities of Montmorency tart (sour) cherries.
There's just one problem – the daily consumption of tart cherries might be difficult. "No matter how much you love cherries, eating them every day might be difficult due to their tartness and seasonality," says Andy LaPointe, director of marketing with Fruit Advantage.
Another significant find within Montmorency cherries is the presence of natural melatonin.
Explains La Pointe: "Tart cherries contain high amounts of melatonin, which can regulate the natural body clock to promote better sleep."
This article was prepared in cooperation with ARA Content.