Friday, January 27, 2012

Tart Cherries Named One of 2012's Trendiest Health Foods

What do chia seeds,  protein powder, black lentils and tart cherries have in common? They all made the list for top foods trends to hit in 2012.

Joy Bauer, nutrition expert on The Today Show, looks into her ‘culinary crystal ball’ and sees tart cherries as a major player in the health food realm for more reasons than one!

Tart cherries (aka sour cherries) are the next superfruit to follow goji berries and acai — and, unlike exotic fruits, most are grown right here in America! New studies suggest that just 2 tablespoons of concentrated tart cherry juice a day (or a handful of dried tart cherries) can help athletes relieve aches and pains after a workout and speed muscle recovery. In addition, there's preliminary evidence that tart cherries may also help with arthritis and possibly even reduce gout attacks (the more common sweet cherries may have similar benefits, but the research so far has been done only on the tart variety). That's because tart cherries are especially rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation and reduce oxidative damage in muscle tissue. Fresh are in season only for a short time in certain parts of the country, but they're available year-round frozen, dried, or as juice.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tart Cherry Juice & Melatonin - Your Beauty Rest Secret


No matter what makeup you put on, how you do your hair or what clothes you wear, none of it will look good unless you get your beauty sleep. So is melatonin the answer to waking up gorgeous? Here are some quick facts:

Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, which is found at the base of the brain, helps control other hormones as well as control the body's clock or circadian rhythms. In other words, it helps regulate when you snooze and when you wake up -- and your levels are affected by light exposure. Our bodies produce more melatonin in the dark (ie. typically when we are asleep) and less in light, so as you may already know, jet lag and shift work can throw off your melatonin levels.

Available in supplements, it is often recommended as a sleep aid for those who suffer from insomnia or to reduce the symptoms of jet lag. Studies from the University of Granada in Spain have found that this natural hormone works better at promoting sleep than somniferous medications.

Melatonin, which is also an antioxidant, can also be found in foods. Small amounts can be found in oats, rice and sweet corn, and in smaller amounts in foods such as bananas, tomatoes, ginger and barley. Drinking tart cherry juice may be the natural sleep potion of choice as it contains a significant quantity of melatonin. One study, published in 2011 in the European Journal of Nutrition, found that drinking two glasses of the juice helped people sleep 39 minutes more than those who did not drink the tart cherry juice (not to mention the juice drinkers experienced six percent better sleep efficiency, that is, more time sleeping than awake while in bed). And in study from 2010 published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, drinking the beverage helped alleviate insomnia symptoms and cut the time spent awake after going to bed by 17 minutes.

Besides promoting more sleep, there is also some evidence that melatonin can slow down the aging process. In a study published in the journal PloS One, researchers in France found that in tests on a small mammal (an animal called the Greater White-toothed shrew), giving the animal melatonin delayed the signs of aging typically present at 12 months of age by three months -- a significant time period given the animal's average lifespan.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Benefits of Tart Cherries are Endless

Forget the goji berries, pomegranate, and acai berry for now.
This year, with all the rising costs in the supermarket, we are leaning toward the more familiar fruit, tart cherries, for top nutrition.
Their rich, red flesh boasts plenty of antioxidants and is comparable to blueberries.

Tart Cherry Health Benefits
  • Reduced cancer risk: Cherries contain the anthocyanin, the main antioxidant found in red, blue, and purple foods.
  • Anti-aging: Contain flavanoid antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress.
  • Lower risk factors for heart disease: Lower cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Reduced inflammation and pain: If cherries were able to be used medicinally, they could have the same effect as aspirin.
  • Reduced symptoms felt with gout and arthritis: The anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherries reduce joint pain.
  • Calming and improved sleep: Cherries contain melatonin which can have a relaxing effect and regulate the body's circadian rhythm.
  • Good fruit for diabetics: On the glycemic index, cherries are rated at 22 (low). This means they are less likely to cause a fast blood glucose spike.

The good news is that most researchers have seen outstanding benefits with consumption of just 20 cherries or about 1.5 cups per day!
For other super foods, you often have to eat cups and cups of that food to see any health improvement.

Cherry Recipe Ideas
  • Healthy cherry cobbler made with a nut crust
  • Add tart cherry juice to your favorite juicer or smoothie recipe
  • Add to oatmeal
  • Add to a quinoa dish
  • Stew the cherries with balsamic vinegar, and serve over yogurt
  • Create a cherry sauce to serve over chicken or fish
  • Chop a cherry salsa to serve with whole grain crackers


"Tart Cherries: Should They be Mandatory?", Nicole German,

Friday, January 13, 2012

6 Healthy (and Cherry-licious) Swaps for 2012

With the New Year underway, many of us have vowed to integrate healthier foods into our diets as part of our resolutions for 2012. Changing the way we eat is a process – and a lifestyle change more than just going on a diet. It’s about understanding how the choices we make affect our bodies and how we feel, and then committing to making a change.
Easier said than done!

Here's a list of healthy swaps - things in your normal, everyday diet or routine that can be easily swapped for something more nutritious and less processed – the 2012 food trend,  tart cherries!

The benefits of tart cherries continue to reveal themselves. From high levels of antioxidants to naturally occurring melatonin to anti-inflammatory components, tart cherries do the trick in a wholesome way. You’ll be surprised to find that these superfuits have you covered in more ways than one:

1) Instead of a chocolate dessert, try Cheribundi Cacao Cherry - slightly decadent, but full of the tart cherry goodness.

2) Skip sugary sodas and enjoy Cheribundi Tru Cherry with sparkling water to get your “fizz fix.”

3) Sleeping pills have a risk of dependency. Dose off naturally with the help of tart cherry juice, just 8 ounces before bed gives you 39 extra minutes of sleep and a 6% boost in sleep efficiency.

4) Instead of reaching for the aspirin, reach for a glass of tart cherry juice, which has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe joint & muscle pain.

5) Swap out a milkshake full of calories and blend up a tart cherry smoothie rich in antioxidants.

6) There’s no need for a salty snack when you can munch on mixed nuts and dried cherries.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Years Resolutions You Can Keep

photo credit:
Achieving a weight-loss goal is the most popular new years resolution. And 2012 is no exception.  For the industry, January means crowded gyms and a boost in sales for natural and healthy products. For us, this also means more frequent and amped-up exercise routines. 

Weight-loss goals often start out lofty – we set huge goals that require an even bigger lifestyle change. We don’t realize that setting one goal subsequently and inherently leads to the need to change many different aspects of your life. It’s like a domino effect. All of a sudden, that one healthy new years resolution to lose weight means giving up a whole lot more and changing a whole lot more than you anticipated, and this is why such resolutions sometimes don’t stick. By Valentine’s Day, our habits get the best of us and we are just too overwhelmed.

Well, don’t lose hope yet. We came across a great blog post from the Rodale Institute, an organization dedicated to health, fitness, and well-being, that offered accessible suggestions to help you keep your resolutions and thrive.

Dr. Jeffrey Rossman explains that it is not a matter of having the intention, but rather the goal being unrealistic, where will-power and dedication just aren’t enough – you are already set up for failure just by the very nature of your goal.

The answer? S.M.A.R.T goals.

Follow this S.M.A.R.T criteria when setting your resolutions and you will have a kick-start to success!

Specific – be straightforward and definitive. Generalizations leave too much room for interpretation, especially during times when you lack motivation.

Measurable – give a number so you have something concrete to meet.

Attainable -  know your own abilities and chose something that is in reach. You can always exceed your expectations, but falling short is discouraging.

Realistic – devise a plan for attaining your goal that works for you.

Timely – reinforce accountability by setting a timeline to reach your goal.

Now you are armed with the wisdom to devise your health goals. But leading a more active lifestyle brings a need to care for your body. When you feel good, it makes your workouts more enjoyable – and tart cherry juice is the perfect compliment.

The high levels of powerful antioxidants in tart cherry juice work to combat free radicals and thus slow the aging process. This means healthy skin, a healthy heart, and even healthy joints by reducing uric acid levels and swelling.

Due to their natural anti-inflammatory properties, tart cherries also helps soothe after-workout muscle pain. Studies show that by drinking tart cherry juice twice a day, runners and athletes had less soreness in their muscles and were able to recover more quickly.

And finally, sip on tart cherry juice to get the most out of your beauty rest. Tart cherries are the only fruit that contain naturally occurring melatonin – the hormone that sorts out our body’s sleep-wake cycle. You can get an average of 39 more minutes of sleep per night and a 6% boost in sleep efficiency. Less tossing and turning is always a good thing!

Happy New Year and Happy New You!