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Tart Cherries

Cherry Pie by (glam metal band) Warrant – 1991

I’m a very functional eater. Usually I choose foods based on their nutrient value vs. taste. Most of the time I’m on the “bitter” end (Kale vs. Iceberg Lettuce), but sometimes I come up on top, like with Cherries! I love Cherries! And though I’m not a big fan of Michigan State (Go Blue!), their research in 1999 sparked my interest when they stated tart cherries may relieve pain better than Aspirin. As I dug further, I found these tart and tasty treats are the ultimate Super Fruit…no wonder they say…

..and with a Cherry On Top! 

Q: Are you talking about all types of Cherries?

A: No, the research is on Tart Cherries or Montmorency Cherries. They have a unique chemical composition compared to sweet cherries, providing compounds called anthocyanins and flavonoids that have a specific antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  To say it simply, compared to sweet cherries, tart cherries have 5x the antioxidant levels, and 20x more Vitamin A! 

Q: ..really better than Aspirin?

A:..and Ibuprofen. For inflammation, not necessarily pain. Tart Cherries have a very strong anti-inflammatory effect. Research has shown that its anthocyanins inhibit the SAME enzymes targeted by drugs like Aspirin and Ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and pain. One researcher estimated you only needed 20 tart cherries to provide the anti-inflammatory effects.

Q: What other benefits?

A: Some of the more researched benefits are in symptoms of Arthritis and Gout. Several studies report that Gout patients are up to 50% less likely to have an attack. Brain health, like Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s. One small study showed dementia patients experienced improvements in verbal fluency and memory. Heart Health, research has shown it can help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. Performance, many studies have shown it can reduce inflammation (after running), muscle damage, and improving muscle strength. 

Q: Should I eat or drink my Tart Cherries?

A: For overall health and wellness, eating Tart Cherries every day is great. Foods have a compounding medicinal effect, every day you eatt, the body lays a foundation of good health. For the immediate and direct medicinal benefits, drinking concentrated Tart Cherry juice is recommended. Most studies were done with subjects 2oz-12oz, 1 to 2x per day. I would recommend 4-6oz per day and be patient with the health benefits. 

Q: What Tart Cherry products do you take?

A: I buy Tart Cherries (frozen) from Costco. I have about 10-15 Cherries with 20 Almonds (healthy fat/protein – slows down the sugar absorption) as my mid-morning snack. I have another 10-15 that I blend with my shake at night (Tart Cherries also have a bit of natural Melatonin!).  I have ½ Tbsp of during the day and 1 Tbsp after heavy or intense workouts.  I also eat Cherry Pie from Piefection (Scottsdale and Gilbert, AZ) on special occasions (which I try to find as many as possible).