LANSING, Mich., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Arthritis is being called "the
coming epidemic." Forty-six million -- or one in five American adults, have
doctor-diagnosed arthritis -- and experts project that number to rise by
nearly 40 percent by 2030(1). May is National Arthritis Month, a time to
generate awareness of this growing condition and ways to manage associated
symptoms. In fact, new research suggests that tart cherries -- one of
today's hottest "Super Fruits" -- may help naturally reduce inflammation
and ease arthritis pain.
While arthritis sufferers have sworn for years that cherry juice
reduces pain, the anecdotal claims are now supported by scientific
evidence. A new study by University of Michigan researchers revealed a
cherry-enriched diet reduced inflammation markers in animals by up to 50
percent(2). Scientists believe it's the anthocyanins -- also responsible
for cherries' vibrant red color -- that are responsible for this
anti-inflammatory benefit. Other studies indicate that anthocyanins may be
beneficial for a range of inflammatory-related conditions, including
Studies also suggest antioxidant-rich foods, like cherries, may help
reduce levels of nitric oxide, a compound associated with osteoarthritis
and rheumatoid arthritis(6-8). Osteoarthritis currently affects 27 million
Americans, with onset typically after 45 years of age(1).
"Cherries have a unique antioxidant profile that works similar to some
types of pain medication," said Russel Reiter, Ph.D., nutrition researcher
at the University of Texas Health Science Center, who has studied the
benefits of tart cherries for many years. "This is an important link in
examining the role diet can play in reducing inflammation and preventing
and managing related diseases and conditions."
Consumers Prefer to Eat Red for Good Health
As America ages, so too will the prevalence of arthritis. Those
afflicted are already looking to foods and beverages with health-promoting
properties to optimize their health. In fact, a recent survey revealed most
respondents would prefer to eat or drink foods with health promoting
properties over medical treatment or dietary supplements. Reducing joint
pain and inflammation were among the priority conditions(9). Also in the
survey, 81% of consumers said they'd add more cherries to their daily diet
if they knew the health benefits were virtually equal to dietary
"Arthritis pain can be very debilitating, limiting activity and overall
quality of life," said Leslie Bonci, Director of Sports Nutrition in the
Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. "As a
registered dietitian, I like to recommend food as the first solution to
good health. Cherries are great because they have these powerful
anti-inflammatory properties and are easy and convenient to eat, from
topping cereal or creating a smoothie."
Cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen and juice forms. One
serving of cherries is equal to 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1 cup frozen
cherries, 8 ounces cherry juice or 2 tablespoons cherry juice concentrate.
To learn more about the unique health benefits of cherries and to
download a copy of "The Cherry Nutrition Report," visit
http://www.choosecherries.com. The site also offers new cherry recipes,
menu ideas, and more information on sourcing cherry products.
The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) is an organization funded by North
American tart cherry growers and processors. CMI's mission is to increase
the demand for tart cherries through promotion, market expansion, product
development and research. For more information on the science supporting
the unique health benefits of cherries and for cherry recipes and menu
ideas, visit http://www.choosecherries.com.
(1) National Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org
(2) 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.
(3) Blau LW. Cherry diet control for gout and arthritis. Texas Reports on
Biology and Medicine. 1950;8:309-311.
(4) Jacob RA, Spinozzi GM, Simon VA, Kelly DS, Prior RL, Hess-Pierce B,
Kader AA. Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy
women, Journal of Nutrition 2003;133:1862-1829.
(5) Tall JM, Seeram, NP, Zhao C, Nair MG, Meyer RA, Raja SN. Tart cherry
anthocyanins suppress inflammation-induced pain behavior in rat.
Behavioural Brain Research. 2004; 153:181-188.
(6) Van Acker SA, Tromp MN, Haenen GR, van der Vijgh WJ, Bast A.
Flavonoids as scavengers of nitric oxide radical. Biochemical and
Biophysical Research Communications. 1995;214:755-759.
(7) Bezerra MM, Brain SD, Greenacre S, Jeronimo SM, de Melo LB, Keeble J,
da Rocha FA.. Reactive nitrogen species scavenging, rather than
nitric oxide inhibition, protects from articular cartilage
damage in rat zymosan-induced arthritis. British Journal of
(8) Remans PH, van Oosterhout M, Smeets TJ, Sanders M, Frederiks WH,
Reedquist KA, Tak PP, Breedveld FC, van Laar JM. Intracellular free
radical production in synovial T lymphocytes from patients with
rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2005;52:2003-2009.
(9) Survey of 1,517 adults age 45 and older, conducted by Opinion
Research Corporation's Caravan Services, November 2007, on behalf of
the Cherry Marketing Institute.
SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute