LANSING, Mich., Feb. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Once known only for its pie persona, tart cherries have emerged as one of today's hottest Super Fruits, with leading health and trends experts buzzing about the fruit's promising benefits. Today, with the help of leading health expert Dr. Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, MA, RD, the cherry industry launched The Red Report, a new look at the power of tart cherries, featuring more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific studies on tart cherries.
One of tart cherries' key claims to fame is their powerhouse of antioxidants. According to top trend forecasters, antioxidants remain a top indicator of health-promoting foods, with nine (93%) out of 10 adults aware of antioxidants, and one-third (31%) are making a strong effort to consume more.(1,2) Tart cherries have among the highest levels of antioxidants of other super foods, ranking 14 in the top 50 for highest antioxidant content per serving size, according to a recent study.(3-7) And, tart cherries have as many, if not more, antioxidants than many other fruits.(5,8)
"The power of this Super Fruit is clear, and what's so remarkable is how far tart cherries have come over the last few years," said Dr. Bazilian, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients. "For example, the fruit has long been believed to have pain relief benefits, and today, there's a strong and significant body of evidence backing that up. I love when modern science confirms what people have anecdotally known and experienced for decades."
"Beyond their health benefits, tart cherries are shaping today's key health and nutrition trends, called out in some of the latest reports as 'the' Super Fruit to watch," added Dr. Bazilian. Currently, nine in 10 adults (91%) think it's very important to get their nutrients from foods that are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, with vitamin A a key nutrient in demand.(9) Tart cherries contain 19 times more vitamin A than blueberries or strawberries.
The Science Behind the Power of Red
Anthocyanins are the key antioxidant compound in tart cherries, responsible for the fruit's bright red color. In fact, tart cherries contain significantly more anthocyanins than other fruits, including sweet cherries.(10,11) A growing body of research has linked the anthocyanins in tart cherries to reduced inflammation, at levels comparable to some well-known pain medication.(10, 12) This inflammatory benefit is likely behind cherries' ability to reduce risk for arthritis and gout, promote cardiovascular health and most recently, to aid muscle recovery and reduce oxidative stress in athletes. The Red Report is the first compilation to include the latest research supporting tart cherries' exercise recovery and pain relief benefits. Key highlights include:
- Recent research published in the American College of Sports Medicine's journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise revealed that tart cherries could help athletes reduce muscle damage to recover faster from a tough workout.(13)
- Other research supports the pain relief benefits of incorporating tart cherries in a training routine. 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.(14)
- Increasingly, sports nutritionists and endurance athletes are following The Red Recovery Routine at www.choosecherries.com, designed to support athletic performance and recovery with a focus on tart cherries ability to reduce exercise-induced inflammation.
While researchers continue to explore the benefits of tart cherries, The Red Report also gives a nod to tart cherries' emerging benefits, including preliminary research linking tart cherry juice to improvements in sleep patterns.
Why Go Red Instead?
Available every day of the year in dried, frozen and juice forms, and versatile enough to include in any dish, tart cherries can be a powerful way to boost fruit intake and meet current dietary recommendations of two daily fruit servings. In fact, experts suggest that 1-2 servings of cherries daily can help provide some of the health benefits identified in the research.
"Now more than ever there's good reason to choose cherries," said Dr. Bazilian. "With just one in five adults eating enough fruit each day, it's my goal as a doctor of public health and dietitian to encourage people to add a variety of fruits to their diets and specifically think about form and color to help guide their fruit intake."
In addition to being a versatile Super Fruit, "tart cherries have that unique sweet-tart taste that people are seeking," added Dr. Bazilian. According to the IFIC Foundation 2011 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes Toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health, taste remains the top driver of America's food decisions making it essential to find great-tasting fruit options. Tangy and sour flavors are quickly becoming two of America's favorite flavors, ranking among the top ten.(15)
To download The Red Report, to learn more about the health benefits of cherries and to find recipes and tips, 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 science supporting the unique health benefits of cherries and for cherry recipes and menu ideas, visit www.choosecherries.com.
1. Mintel. Functional Foods – US. August, 2009.
2. Multi-Sponsor Surveys, 2010. The 2010 Gallup Study of Nutrient Knowledge & Composition. Multi-Sponsor Surveys, Princeton, N.J. www.multisponsor.com.
3. Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM, Haytowitz DB, Gebhardt SE, Prior RL. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States. J Agric Food Chem 2004;52:4026-4037.
4. Kirakosyan A, Seymour EM, Llanes DEU, Kaufman PB, Bolling SF. Chemical profile and antioxidant capacities of tart cherry products. Food Chem 2009;115:20-25.
5. Seymour EM, Ou B. Phytochemical and diverse antioxidant profile of whole tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). FASEB J 2011;25:773.14.
6. Wang H, Nair MG, Strasburg GM, Booren AM, Gray JI. Antioxidant polyphenols from tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). J Agric Food Chem 1999;47:840-844.
7. Halvorsen BL, Carlsen MH, Phillips KM, Bohn SK, Holte K, Jacobs DR, Blomhoff R. Content of redox-active compounds (i.e., antioxidants) in foods consumed in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:95-135.
8. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service. 2010 Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page: http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata/orac.
9. HealthFocus, International, 2009. U.S. Trend Study. St. Petersburg, FL. www.healthfocus.com.
10. Seeram NP, Momin RA, Nair MG, Bourquin LD. Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries. Phytomedicine 2001;8:362-369.
11. Kim DO, Heo HJ, Kim YJ, Yang HS, Lee CY. Sweet and sour cherry phenolics and their protective effects on neuronal cells. J Agric Food Chem 2005;53:9921-9927
12. Tall JM, Seeram NP, Zhao C, Nair MG, Meyer RA, Raja SN. Tart cherry anthocyanins suppress inflammation-induced pain behavior in rat. Behav Brain Res 2004;153:181-188.
13. Bowtell JL, Sumners DP, Dyer A, Fox P, Mileva KN. Montmorency cherry juice reduces muscle damage caused by intensive strength exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43:1544-1551.
14. Kuehl KS, Perrier ET, Elliot DL, Chestnutt J. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010;7:17-22.
15. Technomic, 2011. MarketBriefing. Technomic Information Services. Chicago, IL. www.technomic.com
SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute