June 1, 2012
LANSING, Mich.Tart cherries have the "highest anti-inflammatory content of any food" and may help reduce chronic inflammation for the millions of Americans suffering from debilitating joint pain and arthritis, according to new research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference (ACSM) in San Francisco.
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University conducted a study of 20 women ages 40 to 70 who had been diagnosed with inflammatory osteoarthritis. They found drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks led to significant reductions in important inflammation markers, especially for women who had the highest inflammation levels at the start of the study.
"With millions of Americans looking for ways to naturally manage pain, it's promising that tart cherries can help, without the possible side effects often associated with arthritis medications," said Kerry Kuehl, M.D, Dr.PH., M.S., Oregon Health & Science University, principal study investigator. "I'm intrigued by the potential for a real food to offer such a powerful anti-inflammatory benefitespecially for active adults."
The inflammation benefits could be particularly important for athletes, according to Kuehl's previous research. In a past study he found that people who drank tart cherry juice while training for a long distance run reported significantly less pain after exercise than those who didn't.
Along with providing the fruit's bright red color, the antioxidant compounds in tart cherries called anthocyanins have been specifically linked to high antioxidant capacity and reduced inflammation, at levels comparable to some well-known pain medications.
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