LANSING, Mich., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- For the more than 50 million
Americans who have "pre-diabetes" (also known as metabolic syndrome), a
cluster of health factors that put them at risk for type 2 diabetes, eating
tart cherries may have a whole new meaning.
A recent study in animals by University of Michigan researchers found
diets enriched with antioxidant-rich cherries significantly lowered insulin
and fasting glucose levels, key markers for the development of type 2
diabetes. Adding cherries to the diet also lowered the animals' total
cholesterol levels and triglycerides after 90 days(1).
The American Diabetes Association estimates that most Americans with
pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years unless they make
changes to their food and exercise behaviors. More than 20 million
Americans already have type 2 diabetes, a condition that greatly increases
the risk for other diseases including heart disease and stroke.
"Cherries are packed with powerful plant pigments called anthocyanins
-- which give cherries their dark red color -- and it's these compounds we
believe lower blood sugar and insulin levels," said study co-author Dr.
Steven F. Bolling, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Michigan
Cardiovascular Center who also heads the U-M Cardioprotection Research
Laboratory, where the study was performed in laboratory rats. "We are
encouraged to see in these animal trials that cherries have the potential
to help reduce the risk for serious conditions like metabolic syndrome, or
'pre-diabetes,' and it certainly warrants additional clinical research in
The study also showed the cherry-fed groups had lower levels of a
plasma marker of oxidative damage and increased blood antioxidant capacity
-- not surprising since cherries are one of the richest sources of
The study used whole tart cherries in powder form, which was fed to
rats as one percent of their total diet.
While the amount of cherries used in the study could equate to
reasonable amounts in a human diet, humans and rats differ substantially in
the ability to absorb nutrients like anthocyanins and more research is
needed to translate this science into a diet recommendation.
More than 60 studies have linked tart cherries, the kind consumed as
dried, frozen or juice, to a variety of potential health benefits including
helping to ease arthritis pain to reducing risk factors for heart disease
and some cancers. You can find out more details about the benefits of tart
cherries by visiting http://www.choosecherries.com. There you will find the
Cherry Nutrition Report as well as ways to enjoy cherries year-round.
The study on cherries was presented at the scientific conference
Experimental Biology and has been submitted for publication in a medical
journal. The study was funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute, which
provided an unrestricted grant to the University of Michigan to conduct the
research and was not directly involved in the design, conduct or analysis
of the project.
(1) Cherry-enriched diets reduce metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress
in lean Dahl-SS rats. Experimental Biology 2007 225.8, Seymour EM,
Singer AAM, Bennink MR, Bolling SF. Presented in minisymposium 225,
Dietary Bioactive Compounds: Chronic Disease Risk Reduction.
SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute