Many of us can recall summer days and the sweet, dark, delicious Bing cherries that summer brings. Montmorency tart or sour cherries are also grown in summer but you are not likely to find fresh ones in your grocery store. Rather they are found frozen, canned, dried, powdered, juiced and as a supplement. As their name implies tart cherries are not a sweet fruit and, as such, these superfruits may not get the attention they deserve. While all fruits contain fiber and beneficial compounds, tart cherries are not just your ordinary fruit. Tart cherries contain an abundance of nutrients including fiber, vitamins A and C, folate, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Published scientific studies have shown that these cherries contain an abundance of synergistic bioactive compounds and powerhouse phytochemicals known as anthocyanins, which give cherries their bright red color and are known for their effective and substantial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Plants produce anthocyanins as protective mechanisms against environmental stressors such as cold, drought, pathogens and ultraviolet rays. Epidemiological studies strongly suggest that consumption of naturally occurring plant compounds offer protection against the development of cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Broad spectrum health benefits of tart cherries include:
Antioxidant compounds – Tart cherries have very high amounts of high ORAC value antioxidants, surpassing even blueberries and strawberries. Antioxidants are considered to be cancer protective and essential in the fight against free radicals and oxidation.
Anti-Inflammatory properties – Research suggests that anthocyanin’s anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent blood vessel damage and may be useful in fighting chronic inflammation linked to heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes and many other diseases. Tart cherries have been found to be useful in the relief of inflammation induced pain.
Insomnia – Tart cherries have naturally high levels of melatonin, a hormone responsible for the regulation of the body’s circadian rhythm and the sleep-wake cycle. Studies have shown that as a natural sleep aid, tart cherry may benefit sleep duration, sleep quality and the management of restless sleep.
Gout prevention – Tart cherries have been shown to help reduce uric acid levels that cause the pain and inflammation associated with gout and may be helpful in reducing the frequency of gout attacks.
Improved exercise recovery – Studies have shown that tart cherry juice may decrease muscle pain and weakness associated with exercise, intense strength training, long-distance running or high intensity cycling and provide faster recovery, reduced inflammation and less oxidative stress.
Heart health – Studies show that tart cherries may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce inflammation, all of which supports cardiovascular health. A high intake of anthocyanins is associated with enhanced cardiovascular health support.
Arthritis and joint pain – Because of their high anti-inflammatory properties, tart cherries may help reduce inflammatory pain associated with arthritis. One study showed that tart cherry anthocyanins were as effective as OTC medications in suppressing the COX enzymes associated with inflammation.
Professional Supplement Center carries these high quality products that contain beneficial anthocyanin compounds:
Tart Cherry by Carlson Labs – Two capsules provide 1,000 mg of Montmorency tart cherry concentrate in support of antioxidant protection, healthy joint function and reduced recovery time after vigorous exercise. Gluten free, vegetarian formula.
Tart Cherry Ultra by Enzymatic Therapy – This beneficial flavonoid compound provides 1.2 g of tart cherry skin concentrate per serving. Gluten, soy and dairy free, vegetarian formula.
Recancostat® 400 mg by Integrative Therapeutics – This clinically studied, patented blend of stabilized reduced glutathione (GSH), anthocyanins and L-cysteine supports healthy cell development, blocks free radical damage and supports the body’s normal DNA repair processes. Gluten, soy and dairy free.
Tart Cherry Extract by Life Extension – This 100% natural CherryPURE® tart cherry extract contains a clinically studied dose of standardized 40 mg anthocyanins per capsule. Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
Tart Cherries. Summary of Current Scientific Literature. http://ncnm.edu/images/Helfgott/Projects/scientific-literature-summary-cherries-2011.pdf
Processed tart cherry products-comparative phytochemical content, in vitro antioxidant capacity and in vitro anti-inflammatory activity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23163942
The effect of 100% tart cherry juice on serum uric acid levels, biomarkers of inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/25/1_MeetingAbstracts/339.2?sid=9b969204-e099-4d63-a86d-81e8271e2bd8
Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23023818
Effect of tart cherry juice on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22038497/
Tart Cherries Relieve Osteoarthritis Pain. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/tart-cherries-relieve-osteoarthritis-pain
Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835915/