In the mood for a snack? Down a handful of tart cherries. Why? Because these healthy wonders do more than just taste good — they pack a powerful antioxidant punch. Three studies, all presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in Washington, D.C., found that cherries contain substances that, acting together, may boost cardiovascular health by fighting inflammation — a major contributor to heart disease.
Here’s what these reports show:
- A study of eight over weight adults showed that drinking 8 ounces of tart cherry juice daily for four weeks significantly improved important markers of inflammation.
- Mice that were fed a cherry powder diet reduced levels of C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation up to 36 percent and lowered levels of total cholesterol by 26 percent. They also had a 65 percent reduction of early death.
- About 1 cup of freeze-dried, tart cherries has an oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of more than 10, 000, a high rating indicating that they contain strong antioxidants that help protect the body’s cells.
So head for the frozen food section of your supermarket for a bag of frozen cherries. Downing a just teacup full per day will improve your heart health.