Friday, February 3, 2012

Tart Cherries and a Healthy Heart

Along with boasting Valentine’s Day and National Cherry Month, February is also Heart Health Awareness Month. This is quite the coincidence because the latest studies confirm that tart cherries reduce inflammation, a major risk factor for heart disease.  And with more than 80 million Americans living with some form of heart disease, the heart-healthy qualities of this homegrown super fruit are more relevant than ever.

Heart health starts with a well balanced diet and daily exercise, which both help to prevent the symptoms associated with heart disease, such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. But to maintain life-long heart health, taking extra precautions and dietary measures are important, and tart cherries have you covered!

The main reason we can attribute tart cherries to heart health is their ability to reduce inflammation. 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 – which are other 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. (ChooseCherries.com)

Additionally, a growing body of science reveals tart cherries (enjoyed as dried, frozen cherries or cherry juice) have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, when compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin Cpotassiummagnesiumiron, fiber and folate. Part of this is attributed to science that links cherries’ red color (provided by the fruit’s powerful antioxidants) to heart-health benefits related to reducing inflammation and total cholesterol. (FruitsandVeggiesMoreMatters.org)

So this Febrary, celebrate National Cherry Month and  Hearth Health Awareness Month with a healthy diet, exercise, and delicious Cheribundi tart cherry juice!

For more information on cardiovascular/heart health, visit the American Heart Association Web site at www.americanheart.org



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