In fact, cherries' unique compounds may work synergistically to deliver a powerful antioxidant punch, according to a new study from the University of Michigan researchers published in Food Chemistry. The researchers isolated individual cherry phytonutrients and tested the antioxidant power alone, or paired together. They found that the "whole" was greater than the sum of its parts – specific compounds worked together to boost antioxidant power more than would be expected for any one compound on its own.
"This research tells a powerful 'whole' fruit story – there's something about the unique array of compounds in a fruit that is vital for the full health potential," said E. Mitchell Seymour, PhD, research scientist at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center and one of the study co-authors. "If you pull out any of the phytonutrients to stand on its own, you simply won't get the same power as the full combination you find in whole cherries."
The Phytonutrient match up, on the chart below, provides an at-a-glance look at how cherries unique package of phytonutrients stack up to other Super Fruits, including "gold standards" like strawberries and grapes.
Known for their bright red color, cherries are particularly rich in anthocyanins – compounds linked to reduced inflammation associated with heart disease, arthritis and even muscle recovery post-exercise. In fact, the latest in a growing body of science linking cherries to powerful anti-inflammatory benefits shows that drinking tart cherry juice may help runners recover more quickly and effectively from post-race pain.
"What I love about cherries is that their powerful phytonutrient profile gives them a unique anti-inflammatory advantage which supports today's active, on-the-go consumer," said Leslie Bonci, Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh. "It's important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, but cherries are an ideal power-packed food."
In addition to pain and recovery benefits, previous research from the University of Michigan revealed that cherry-enriched diets in animals lowered multiple risk factors for heart disease. In 2007, researchers found that cherry-enriched diets in animals lowered total blood cholesterol levels and reduced triglycerides (fatty acids). And, in 2008, the University of Michigan researchers found animals fed a cherry-enriched diet saw reduced total body weight and fat by 14 percent, in particular the "belly fat" that is most often associated with heart disease risk.
Your Daily Diet: Powered by Red
With year-round availability as dried, frozen and juice, it's easy to incorporate cherries into the daily menu. At Gardening Austin we recommend the following tips to help reap the powerful phytonutrient benefits every day:
- Brighten up Breakfast – Swap your typical berries for dried cherries and add them to your cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or pancakes. Just one half cup of dried tart cherries gives you one whole serving of fruit!
- Power Snacking – Keep a stash of dried cherries on hand for a phytonutrient-rich snack break. Buy single-serve packages or portion out those bought in bulk to keep in your purse, desk or gym bag.
- Grab and Go – Get your antioxidants on-the-go with an easy "do-it-yourself" trail mix using dried cherries, almonds and whole-grain cereal. Or add dried cherries to ready-made granola.
Cherries, eat them love them! And Happy Gardening!!
I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below by clicking on the word 'comments' or hitting the button below - every week we will select one comment as our weekly winner and we will send you a mess of FREE Seeds!! Quality, Organic, NoN-GMO seeds for Phytonutrient-rich veggies direct from www.phytonutrientfarms.com So comment today!