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Cherries Reduce Body Fat, Might Prevent Heart Disease

By Daniel H. Rasolt

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008

(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- Tart cherries might start to play a role in heart disease prevention, based on recent research further supporting their abilities. Consuming tart cherries was observed to reduce body fat, one of the leading risk factors for heart disease.

The most common forms taken by tart cherries today are dried fruit and juice. These particular cherries contain high levels of antioxidants, which themselves have been linked to numerous health benefits in other natural substances (such as pomegranates, blueberries, red wine and tea), due most notably to their anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, tart cherries contain the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is also responsible for cherries red color.

Tart cherries had already been shown in past research to reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol, two other factors closely associated with heart disease, as well as other health conditions, such as arthritis. With the observed lowering of body weight and body fat in the current study, the potential for tart cherries being used as a natural preventative tool for heart disease increases substantially.

The study was conducted on obese mice being fed a high fat "western" diet. This diet consists of moderate carbohydrate consumption in addition to high fat intake. One group of mice were fed tart cherry powder, consisting of one percent of their total diet.

The mice fed the cherry extract were observed to have 14% less body fat after 12 weeks than the non-cherry consuming mice. This decreased body fat was most noticeable in belly fat, which is most closely associated with heart disease.

This study also further supported past research that stressed the benefit of cherries. Cholesterol levels were seen to be 11% lower in mice consuming the cherry extract, and inflammation was observed to be noticeably lower in these mice as well.

Finding new natural alternatives for preventing disease is always important and useful, but when considering heart disease, millions of lives could be positively effected. Heart disease is the leading killer in the United States, and with rising obesity levels, the numbers are only expected to rise, with only lifestyle changes and new preventative measures left to change this trend. "We know excess body fat increases the risk for heart disease. This research gives us one more support point suggesting that diet changes, such as including cherries, could potentially lower heart disease risk," concludes study author Dr. Steven Bolling.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Bolling, Steven. Montiel, Katie. American Dietetic Association's Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo news release. October 2008.

Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.

Copyright © 2008 Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

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