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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The New Superfood for Reducing Heart Disease – Tart Cherries

Tart cherries are moving on up in the world. As today’s new superfood, they are being studied extensively and touted for their superb nutrition. With each new study, they are being proved healthier, doing everything from reducing inflammation to lowering cholesterol. Now a new study by the University of Michigan has reported they can add one more item to their list of accolades: lowering fat and body weight, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease.

The new study involved obese rats who were fed a standard American diet. Some of the rats were also given whole tart cherry powder as one percent of the diet, while others were not. After a twelve-week analysis, the rats that included tart cherry powder in their diet had 14 percent lower body fat than the other rats, 11 percent reduced cholesterol levels and a higher percentage of maintained lean muscle mass.

In addition, interleukin 6 (IL-6) was reduced by over 30 percent and TNF-alpha was lowered by 40 percent, both of which are linked to inflammation. The lowered rate of these compounds suggests that tart cherries may also have an anti-inflammation effect.

Although the body uses inflammation to fight off injury and infection, a persistent state of inflammation is a serious risk for diseases and infection. Tart cherries may reduce this risk by lowering inflammation.

The results of the study suggested that tart cherries could be helpful for reducing heart disease, but the overall opinion of the study is that diet changes in general could possibly reduce heart disease. Reducing weight, cholesterol and inflammation in any way could contribute to a reduce risk of heart disease.

More studies will help the medical community decide whether or not these suspicions are true, including human-based studies.

The study was presented at the American Dietetic Association’s annual meeting.

Although a solid consensus on whether or not tart cherries can reduce heart disease in humans could be a long way off, in the meantime, eat your cherries!

Tart cherries lower heart disease risk

Prior Posts

Alternative medicine, nutrition, and high cholesterol
Just what exactly is High Cholesterol?
Garlic lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
Lowering Cholesterol With Food and Statins
Omega 3s raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol
Inflammation allows the body to heal itself
Green Tea, Cancer, and the Inflammation and Pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Can linoelic acid reduce the risk of heart disease ?

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