Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. As consumers seek heart-healthy versions of their favorite foods, manufacturers are searching for ingredients that provide a health halo to their products.
While studies on cardiovascular health are still emerging, a new study in Nutrients suggests that Montmorency tart cherries may play a role in maintaining heart health. Researchers at the University of Delaware found that older adults who drank tart cherry juice made from U.S. grown Montmorency tart cherries experienced a reduction in systolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol.
In the recent clinical trial, 34 men and women between the ages of 65-80 years drank either 8 ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice or a control beverage twice a day for 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 weeks, participants in the tart cherry group had lower systolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, as well as lower levels of certain substances in the blood that indicate inflammation and oxidative stress compared to the control group. Larger and longer follow-up studies are needed to confirm these findings.
In addition to meeting consumer demand for ingredients that provide potential health benefits, Montmorency tart cherries enhance flavor profiles and cater to evolving taste preferences by adding a sweet-tart flavor to products. For that reason, Montmorency tart cherries are cropping up in a variety of products, including single-serve beverages, nutrition bars, trail mixes and baked goods.
Montmorency tart cherries – the non-imported variety grown in the U.S. -- are available year-round in juice and juice concentrate, dried, frozen, and canned forms and can easily be incorporated into a range of food and beverages. To source Montmorency tart cherries, visit CherryProcessor.com.