LANSING, Mich., March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- If you're one of the millions of Americans not getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, perhaps it's your "form." A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(i) showed nearly 70 percent of Americans aren't eating enough fruit. Experts say one reason may be because people don't know how to fit more fruit into their diets, so the Produce for Better Health Foundation is putting out a call to remind people that all forms count -- dried, frozen and 100% juice can be just as nutritious and even more convenient than fresh varieties. In fact, fruits in many forms are a growing trend. Food Technology(ii), one of the food industry's leading publications, says the time is ripe for "superfruits" like tart cherries that are available year-round in dried, frozen, juice and juice concentrate. Not only are cherries easy and convenient, studies show they contain among the highest amounts of antioxidants compared to other fruits. Furthermore, research suggests cherries may have many potential health benefits including easing arthritis pain and reducing risk factors for heart disease. Registered dietitian and TV Chef Ellie Krieger says cherries are a great way to boost your fruit intake. "Half the battle of getting more fruits is making them accessible," says Krieger. "Cherries are one of the most convenient, versatile choices on the market because they are available year-round as dried, frozen and juice, so you can easily incorporate them in to your diet every single day." In fact just 1/2 cup of dried cherries and an 8-ounce glass of 100% cherry juice gets you two servings in a day. Recipes and tips that can make it easy to incorporate cherries into breakfast, lunch, snacktime and dinner, as well as a link to the USDA's fruit serving guide, can be found on http://www.choosecherries.com . Cherries. Not Just Another Berry To help boost awareness of the benefits of tart cherries the Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) has launched a consumer education campaign. As part of the program CMI unveiled the first-ever Cherry Nutrition Report, a compendium of science revealing that cherries have among the highest antioxidant content compared to other fruits and are linked to many potential health benefits. Highlights include: -- Powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, give tart cherries their distinctive red color. These rich red pigments are a type of phytonutrient known as flavonoids, which have been linked to health benefits from protecting against heart disease and cancer to helping keep the brain sharp. -- Cherries may help ease the pain of arthritis and gout. Studies suggest cherries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins 1 and 2, which help block cyclooygenase 1 and 2 (or COX-1 and COX-2) -- also a feature of some pain medications. -- Cherries are on one of the few known food sources of the antioxidant melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle and may help promote a more restful sleep. -- Additional studies suggest that the compounds in cherries may help lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of insulin resistance syndrome, or pre-diabetes, which has become an epidemic in this country. More information on the CDC report, the Food Technology article and a copy of the Cherry Nutrition Report can be found at http://www.choosecherries.com . You can also find cherry recipes, menu ideas and more information on where to buy cherry products. (i) Blanck HM, Galuska DA, Gillepspie C, Khan LK, Serdula MK, Solera MK, Mokdad AH, Cohen LP. Fruit and vegetable consumption among adults -- United States, 2005" CDC: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly 2007; 56: 213-217. (ii) Pszczola, D. "Time is Ripe for these Superheroes", Food Technology, March, 2007.
SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute