As cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America, heart health is a big issue these days. Now, we all know that taking care of your heart is important, and that a well balanced diet, paired with exercise, can help prevent the symptoms associated with heart disease, such as hypertension, diabetes, etc. but is that enough? To maintain heart health, and help your ticker stay in tip top shape, taking extra precautions and dietary measures may be in order. Thankfully recent studies indicate that “Super Fruits,” specifically cherries, may play a role in reducing inflammation and risk factors for heart disease.
As February is American Heart Month, let’s take a look at how cherries reduce inflammation, and why it’s important to get your daily dose for optimum heart health. The latest research conducted by the University of Michigan revealed that a cherry-enriched diet may help lower body fat, total weight, inflammation and cholesterol – all major risk factors for heart disease. While inflammation is a normal process the body uses to fight off infection or injury, according to recent science, a chronic state of inflammation could increase the risk for diseases and may be especially common for those who are overweight or obese, at least in part because of excess weight around the middle. Cherries contain special antioxidants, known as anthocyanins, which help the body reduce inflammation and repair inflamed tissues. *Study information provided by the Cherry Marketing Institute
Incorporating cherries into your everyday diet as part of a heart-healthy regimen is an easy and a delicious way to fend off disease risk factors. Sprinkle dried cherries into your favorite recipes, oatmeal, salads, trail mix or eat just by themselves. Add tart cherry juice to your smoothies, or accompany any meal with a bottle of cheribundi. Incorporate cherries into your favorite desserts, and on a hot summer day enjoy a tart cherry juice popsicle or spritzer. The ways in which to add cherries to your diet are endless and a nutritious way to take care of your heart.
How are you taking care of your ticker this heart month, and beyond?
For more information on cardiovascular/heart health, visit the American Heart Association Web site at www.americanheart.org.