US Cherry Nutrition Report Links Cherries with Many Health Benefits
With the help of some leading health experts, the Cherry Marketing Institute in the United States of America has
launched a new consumer education campaign and unveiled The Cherry Nutrition Report. Available at www.choosecherries.com
the report is the first compendium of peer-reviewed cherry-related studies and documents the high levels of
antioxidants. It also reviews the research that links cherries to a variety of health benefits—from easing the pain of
arthritis and gout to offering potential protection against heart disease and certain cancers.
“There’s a significant body of evidence suggesting that cherries are one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat,”
said panel member Russel Reiter, PhD, a nutrition researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San
Antonio. Dr. Reiter has pioneered many of the studies on tart cherries. “Cherries not only contain significant levels of
antioxidants, but they provide a unique combination of antioxidants that are not found in other fruits,” Dr. Reiter
said. “The compounds in cherries act as potent antioxidants that appear to have anti-inflammatory benefits, which may be
particularly valuable for aging baby boomers suffering from joint pain.” Research indicates that cherries help inhibit
enzymes in the body that are associated with inflammation. The compounds in cherries were found to have similar activity
as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which provide the distinctive red color of cherries and may hold the
key to the benefits locked inside. These rich red pigments are a type of phytonutrient known as flavonoids, which have
been linked to a variety of health benefits—from potential protection against heart disease and cancer to keeping the
Research conducted at Michigan State University found that cherries are the richest source of anthocyanins 1 and 2—which
help block cyclooxygenase 1 and 2, termed COX-1 and COX-2. Some pain medication works by inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2,
which may explain why cherries seem to help ease the pain of arthritis and gout. The researchers found cherries were the
highest in these beneficial compounds compared to various berries such as blackberries and strawberries. Anthocyanins 1
and 2 are not found in blueberries or cranberries.
Additionally, cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin, a potent antioxidant that helps improve the body’s
circadian rhythms and natural sleep patterns, according to studies conducted by Dr. Reiter, who is the author of
Melatonin and is a leading authority on melatonin.
More recent studies reviewed in The Cherry Nutrition Report suggest that compounds in cherries may help lower blood
cholesterol and reduce the risk of insulin resistance syndrome, or pre-diabetes.
Most consumers seem to be in the dark about the antioxidant content and nutritional value of cherries. However, cherries
were on top when it came to taste with respondents saying they prefer the taste of cherries compared to blueberries and