Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tart Cherry Trees Spring Into Bloom!

If you live in Michigan, New York, or Washington DC, you may have seen the cherry trees bloom this month. In fact, some areas, like DC, are known for their cherry blossoms, and people come from far and wide to enjoy the beautiful view of the flowering trees. After the blooms have run their course, some cherry trees (the trees that bear fruit), begin to develop the delicious cherry fruit we enjoy every summer.

As you may know, cherry blooms are typically white or pink, and if the tree produces fruit, the cherries range from bright red to dark red (although there are some white and yellow versions), sweet to sour in taste. Sweet cherries are typically eaten plain, while sour cherries are typically used for cooking, baking and tart cherry juice.

A cherry tree ranges in size from six to thirty feet, depending on the cultivar. There are also some shrub cherry trees! A cherry tree has distinct reddish brown bark and pale to dark green foiliage. The cherry tree is in the stone-fruit family, similar to prunes and plums, and cherry trees grow throughout most of Asia and Europe, northern Africa and most of North America. Originally from Asia, the cherry tree also includes cultivars that will grow in arctic regions.

With a lifespan of about 20 years, cherry trees offer a beautiful addition to any yard or garden, and the delicious fruit they bear can be enjoyed during the summer months (and all year-round if you preserve the fruit!). Thinking about growing your own cherry tree? Here are some great tips on caring for your trees, and getting the most out of their delicious fruit bearing years.

Already have a cherry tree? Share your tips, and cherry recipes with us!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Red Sox nutritionist says cherries are great for marathon runners

Marathon runners are always looking for new and improved ways to prepare for and recover from their training and races. While it’s a bit too late to change things around for Monday’s Boston Marathon, Tara Mardigan,the nutritionist for the Boston Red Sox and Harvard Athletics, has some advice for future training: cherries. While it sounds so simple, Mardigan says that cherries can make a real difference in training and recovery, and took the time to answer a few questions about what
makes cherries so special.

1. How did you come up with and put together this Red Recovery Plan idea?
Sports dietitian Leslie Bonci, created the Red Recovery Routine to help athletes manage and minimize their pain – no matter what their fitness level. I along with other dietitians around the country have teamed up with the Cherry Marketing Institute to share this tool with athletes and active adults like many who will be running next week’s Boston Marathon.

2. Why cherries? What's so special about them?
A growing body of science suggests that red foods such as tart cherries contain powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. But what’s unique about cherries is that they contain specific antioxidants called anthocyanins that have been shown to relieve the pain associated with inflammation, which can have significant impact on relieving muscle and joint soreness more quickly and effectively. These properties are also seen in grapes and raspberries.

3. What differences have runners experienced when using this plan around workouts and races?
In a recent study from the UK, 10 trained athletes were given 1 ounce of an antioxidant-packed tart cherry juice concentrate twice daily for seven days prior to and two days after an intense round of strength training.  The athletes’ recovery after the cherry juice concentrate was significantly faster compared to when they drank juice without the same phytonutrient content of cherry juice.  After drinking cherry juice, athletes returned to 91 percent of normal muscle force at 24 hours. Researchers suggest that the powerful antioxidant compounds in cherry juice likely decreased oxidative damage to the athletes’ muscles – the damage that normally occurs when muscles are worked to their max – allowing the muscles to recover more quickly.
4. Instead of consuming these cherry drinks, can runners simply eat cherries and get the same benefit?
Yes, tart cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen, juice and juice concentrate forms. You can add them to salads, smoothies, breakfast cereals and many of your favorite dishes. For more ideas you can check out the recipe section at

5. Would you recommend that runners eat cherries (or consume a cherry drink) every day?
Adding cherries to your daily diet plan can be a great way to add antioxidants to your plate and they may even help with your body’s immunity and risk factors against heart disease. Cherries are also a great source of essential nutrients. They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and they also contain fiber.

6. In your experience, what has this plan done for marathon runners, the day of and day after their race?
On the day of the race, cherry juice can help keep you fueled, reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints and keep you hydrated better than some sports drinks.  Marathon runners who use the tool and incorporate cherries into their diet may experience a quicker recovery time from muscle soreness post-race. By consuming anti-inflammatory foods such as cherries, green tea, spinach, salmon and sweet potatoes runners better their chances to minimize pain even before they lace up.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cherries for the Environment

You may think that creating a consumer product is harmful to the environment. In a lot of cases, it is. As a manufacturer you need to be aware of all of the factors that go into production such as packaging and packing materials, transportation and natural resources used, and the impact these processes can have on the earth. 

While no business is perfect, it’s important to realize that by taking sustainable steps in all aspects of production, a company can greatly reduce its environmental impact, and even help the environment recover from the actions of others.

So, you ask, what is cheribundi doing to reduce its footprint? Here are a few examples:

All juicing operations have as little environmental impact as possible
We use only domestic cherries to keep our juices from “traveling the world”. Our state of the art facilities are located within the Cornell Technology Farm in Geneva, NY.

100% US grown and juiced cherries
All the cherries that go into our juices are grown in the United States - either in Michigan or New York. Even better - we work with a farmers coop to source our fruit.

Drinking a bottle a day keeps two cherry trees in the ground for US farmers
Someone counted the ripe tart cherries on a tree and discovered there are about 7000 of those delicious red fruits on a tree. Since we put 50 of them in every bottle and recommend a bottle a day that’s 2 trees worth a year! (365 days x 50 cherries/bottle = 18250 cherries a year!)

All bottles and labels are PET plastic
Getting healthy whole foods delivered to people is a challenge. We decided that going with a PET plastic bottle and label made the most sense due the highly recyclable nature of PET plastic.

All out bottles and caps come from suppliers that have certified them to be BPA free.

100% Recyclable with a downstream product life (bags, shelves, even carpet)
PET plastic (recycle #1) is one of the most used post-consumer waste products. It makes decking, reusable shopping bags, park furniture and carpet (for starters).

All other packaging is recyclable
We use recycled materials where we can - and packing materials that are easily recycled. You can look in our recycling dumpster any time.

In addition to these initiatives, cheribundi is constantly working to cut back where possible, and preserve our environment for future generations to come. After all, we only have one planet – it our responsibility to keep it clean!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Three New Studies Link Eating Red To A Healthy Heart

Tart cherries have a unique combination of powerful antioxidants that may help reduce risk factors for heart disease, according to new research presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in Washington, DC.

In a series of three studies, researchers from University of Michigan, University of Arizona and Brunswick labs studied the antioxidant levels and anti-inflammatory benefits of tart cherries. They found:
  • Reduced Inflammation and Cardiovascular Risk: Drinking eight ounces of tart cherry juice daily for four weeks significantly reduced important markers of inflammation in a study of 10 overweight or obese adults. Many of the adults also had lower levels of uric acid (linked to inflammation and gout) and triglycerides (linked to heart disease).(1)
  • Reduced Atherosclerosis and other Heart Disease Risk: A cherry diet (at 1% of diet as tart cherry powder) reduced C reactive protein and other markers of inflammation by up to 36 percent and lowered levels of total cholesterol by 26 percent in a five-month mouse study. The researchers suggest that there’s an atherosclerosis benefit connected to both lowering cholesterol, and an anti-inflammatory effect, specifically in the blood vessels coming from the heart. Importantly, the mice eating the cherry diets had a 65 percent reduction in early death, likely due to improved cardiovascular health.
  • Powerful Antioxidants: The heart benefits and many others may be due to the unique combination of natural antioxidant compounds in the “Super Fruit.” About one cup of freeze-dried tart cherries have an ORAC over 10,000, and contain a diverse combination of antioxidant compounds and phytochemicals likely responsible for their health benefits, according to the researchers.

The Power of Eating RED
This is the latest in a growing body of science linking cherries to protection against heart disease and inflammation.  Previous research from the University of Michigan revealed that cherry-enriched diets in animals lowered multiple risk factors for heart disease, from lowering total blood cholesterol levels to reducing total body weight and fat, in particular the “belly fat” that is most often associated with heart disease risk.(4,5) The University of Michigan researchers, using a “whole food” approach, also found the cherry-enriched diets reduced not only overall body inflammation, but inflammation at key sites (belly fat, heart) known to affect heart disease risk in obese, at-risk rats.

Researchers attribute the benefits to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds in the red fruit called anthocyanins, also responsible for cherries’ bright red color. In addition to heart heath benefits, research also suggests cherries could affect inflammation related to muscle recovery post-workout and arthritis.

Available year-round in dried, juice and frozen form, it’s easy to incorporate the RED power of cherries into the daily diet to manage inflammation – from topping dried cherries in oatmeal to making a heart-smart smoothie with cherry juice and lowfat yogurt.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cherries for Health: Better Than Aspirin?

This fascinating article on cherries and their association with pain relief recently ran in the Huffington Post - check it out!

Sometimes the latest research on nutrition involves a substance or supplement with an obscure name that only a scientist could get excited about. But other times, there is something absolutely delicious that, it turns out, is also great for you.

Which brings us to cherries. With cherry blossom season in the air, now is a great time to celebrate the beauty of nature and one of my favorite fruits, the cherry. 

The delicious sweet and tart flavor of cherries is matched by remarkable health benefits. 

Cherries are a rich source of:
  • vitamin C
  • potassium
  • boron, a mineral that plays an essential role in bone health, especially for women.
Cherries Fight Inflammation
Cherries are important for their ability to control inflammation. A growing body of scientific research indicates that inflammation contributes to diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and obesity. 

Sweet or tart, cherries are a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory nutrients.
A study from University of California at Davis found that regular consumption of cherries for 28 days produced a decrease in biochemical signs of inflammation in blood, including a 25 percent reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP), the most widely studied marker of inflammation. Elevation of CRP in blood is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Cherries Better Than Aspirin for Pain?
According to research done at Michigan State University the anthocyanins that make cherries red could also help relieve pain more effectively than aspirin. The study found that anthocyanins were potent antioxidants that could prevent oxidative damage and also inhibited enzymes called cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (Cox 1 and 2), which is similar in the way anti- inflammatory drugs seek to reduce pain. The study appeared in the Journal of Natural Products published by the American Chemical Society.

Lead researcher Muralee G. Nair, Ph.D., Professor at Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, noted about this cherry effect "It is as good as ibuprofen and some of the nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs." Nair said that his lab results indicate that consuming 20 tart cherries could provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Finding a natural way to reduce pain is important, given the serious side effects from common pain relievers called NSAIDs, examples of which include Advil, Motrin, Aleve and aspirin. Learn about these surprising side effects in my article Why Medication Can Be Dangerous to Your Health
Cherry Juice for Workout Recovery
A presentation at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference found that drinking tart cherry juice helped reduce pain after exercise for long distance runners. This research, from the Oregon Health & Science University, indicated that cherries could act like medications that runners use to reduce inflammation after workouts.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the researchers explain: "Considering the natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity of tart cherries, it is plausible that cherry consumption before and during strenuous exercise may have a protective effect to reduce muscle damage and pain."

"For most runners, post-race treatment consists of RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and traditional NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)," said Kerry Kuehl, M.D., a sports medicine physician and principal study investigator, who added: "But NSAIDS can have adverse effects -- negative effects you may be able to avoid by using a natural, whole food alternative, like cherry juice, to reduce muscle inflammation before exercise." Please see References below for the link to the full text of this interesting study.

Reducing pain in sports would be a great benefit, given the pain that some professional athletes go through, which you can learn more about in: Football and Painkillers

Cherries and Gout
Another study from the University of California at Davis found that a single dose of cherries reduced the blood level of uric acid in healthy women. Excess uric acid causes gout, a very painful type of arthritis. The use of cherries to prevent gout is well established in Western folk medicine.

You can enjoy the benefit of cherries all year round with unsweetened cherry juice, unsweetened cherry juice concentrate, or frozen organic pitted cherries, which make a delicious snack or dessert. 

And don't forget about incorporating anti-inflammatory foods like cherries into daily life. Here is a cherry recipe from my book, The Fat Resistance Diet, an anti-inflammatory program featuring foods that help cut inflammation.

Cinnamon Lemon Poached Pears with Cherry Syrup
2 Ripe Pears
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 Cup Chopped Almonds
1 Cup of Water
2 Sprigs of Mint
1 Tablespoon Cherry Concentrate

Peel and core pears. Put pear, water, cherry concentrate, lemon juice and cinnamon in a saucepan. Cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until fork tender. With a slotted spoon remove and plate pears. Simmer liquid until syrup is reduced to desired consistency and spoon on pears. Top with chopped almonds and mint. Serves two.

I hope you enjoy the healthy pleasure of cherries this spring and the rest of the year.
Get free recipes and more information at

Friday, April 8, 2011

Power Berry Trail Mix Snack Cookie

A super mix of nutrients, perfect for a simple grab-and-go snack, lunchbox treats or breakfast on the go. 
1 1/2 c dried tart cherries
3/4 c toasted almonds
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c brown sugar
1/3 c honey
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 c oats
1 c wheat flour
3/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 c flax seed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c dark chocolate chips
1c yogurt butter

Cream butter and sugars in a small mixing bowl. Drizzle in honey and vanilla, mix well, add eggs. Set aside.

Sift flours, powder and soda in another medium size bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir in oats, flax seed, chocolate, almonds and cherries.

Spray muffin pan wells with non stick spray. Place one heaping tablespoon of batter into each well.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield 2 dz.

Nutrition Info:
Nutrition Facts per cookie: 220 calories, 8 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 34 g carbohydrate, 20 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 3 g fiber, 150 mg sodium; Daily Values: 6% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 4% calcium, 6% iron

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In Honor of Earth Day, Cheribundi Celebrates USA Grown Cherries!

Recently, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of “local” food. Not only is fresh, locally grown food good for your health, but sourcing food in the area in which you live reduces the need for food transportation, cutting down on environmental pollution. As food road transport produces 60% of the world's food transport carbon emissions, air transport produces 20% of the world's food transport carbon emissions and rail and sea transport produce 10% each of the world's food transport carbon emissions, decreasing the demand for food shipped from outside the US will help to reduce the amount of overall pollution produced.

The Montmorency cherries we use are all grown in the USA (Michigan and New York, to be exact). Known as “America’s Superfruit,” tart cherries thrive in the diverse climates of Michigan and New York. The chilly winters allow the trees to go dormant and rest (The self-pollinating trees tolerate temperatures down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit!), and the warm summers allow the trees to produce luscious fruit. The fact that Michigan and New York are near water also allow plenty of hydration to hardy cherry trees.

After cheribundi cherries are harvested from American orchards, they're processed gently in the US so that when you drink cheribundi™ it's like eating the cherries straight off the tree. As our juicing process was developed by food scientists at Cornell University, we are proud to offer a product that is 100% USA grown and made. As a company, we consider the environment in all steps of our production process, and plan to ‘keep it local,’ by continuing to source and manufacture here in the USA.

Pollution information source: