LANSING, Mich., Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new book from David Grotto, RD, titled The Best Things You Can Eat (Da Capo Press, January 2013), reveals some of the best foods for healthier living, including tart cherries. Recognized for their powerful nutrient profile and functional properties, tart cherries appear on several lists in Grotto's book, including best foods for sleep, as well as best pain-fighting foods, best foods for muscle recovery, and best fruits overall.
Emerging research has linked tart cherry juice to improvements in sleep and sleep patterns, which is why cherries were featured as one of Grotto's "7 Best Foods for Zzzz."
"More and more, people are searching for delicious, natural foods that offer functional benefits, and tart cherries rise to the top in my book," said Grotto. "Science continues to support the many health benefits of tart cherries such as helping regulate natural sleep patterns, which is especially important as the CDC now considers lack of sleep a 'public health epidemic.'"
Currently, Americans spend more than $84 million on over-the-counter sleep aids each year, leaving many searching for cost-effective ways to help manage their conditions.Researchers believe tart cherries can help. In particular, one study found that healthy adults experienced improved sleep time and a 5-6 percent increase in overall sleep efficiency after drinking two servings of tart cherry juice for a week.
Science Behind the Best of RED
As highlighted in The Red Report, a compilation of more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific studies, in addition to emerging evidence supporting the benefits of tart cherry juice as a sleep aid, a substantial body of research indicates that tart cherries may have unique powers to help reduce chronic inflammation related to arthritis, gout, heart disease and exercise-related muscle pain.
In fact, along with ginger, turmeric and hot peppers, tart cherries top Grotto's list of "Best foods for numbing aches and pains." One study by the Oregon Health & Science University found that drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks led to significant reductions in important inflammation markers associated with osteoarthritis. Another found eating cherries may reduce the risk of a gout attack by up to 35 percent. , 
Grotto's book also sites tart cherries as one of the "Best pre- and post- workout foods." In one study, runners who drank cherry juice twice a day for seven days prior to and on the day of a long-distance relay had significantly less muscle pain following the race.
How to Eat RED
To celebrate all the best attributes that make tart cherries, included are simple tips to incorporate tart cherries into any diet:
- Greens & Reds: Toss grilled salmon, dried cherries and a dash of turmeric with salad greens for heightened flavor and pain-fighting nutrients.
- Runner's Red Relief: Blend low-fat chocolate milk, kefir or plain yogurt and frozen cherries for a quick boost pre- or post-workout beverage.
- Spiced Red Snack Mix: Try an easy do-it-yourself trail mix using dried cherries, ginger, cinnamon, almonds, pistachios and whole-grain cereal.
- Berry Cherry Breakfast : Swap typical berries for dried tart cherries to top cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or pancakes.
Tart cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen and juice forms, a readily accessible power food ideal for any occasion. To learn more about the health benefits of tart cherries and download "The Red Report," visit www.choosecherries.com.
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 Red Report, a comprehensive overview of the body of research supporting tart cherries' health properties, the Red Recovery Routine, and for cherry recipes and menu ideas, visit www.chooscherries.com.
 Hossain JL, Shapiro CM. The prevalence, cost implications, and management of sleep disorders: an overview. Sleep and Breathing. 2002; 6:85-102.
 Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. European Journal of Nutrition. 2012;51:909-916.
 Sleigh, AE, Kuehl KS, Elliot DL . Efficacy of tart cherry juice to reduce inflammation among patients with osteoarthritis. American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. May 30, 2012
 ZhangY, Neogi T, Chen C, Chaisson C, Hunter DJ, Choi HK. Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2012;64: 4004–4011.
 Kuehl KS, Perrier ET, Elliot DL, Chestnutt J. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2010;7:17-22.
SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute