Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tart cherries, arthritis, and all that ails you
How good are Montmorency cherries? Well suffice it to say that at a certain point, I just had to stop reading the bushels of cheery cherry news in order to get this post written.
First of all, they're a wicked good source of melatonin. So much so that Dr. Russel Reiter, the so-called 'dean of melatonin research,' has now become the darling of U.S. cherry growers. Dr. Reiter has proven in his Texas neuroendocrinology lab that eating tart cherries replete in melatonin will make you replete in melatonin.
Hard to say what's next best about cherries. Probably their anthocyanin content. These cherry compounds are potent cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors. If that term rings a bell, it's because COX-2 inhibitors have been big news lately, first as miracle compounds that decrease arthritis pain without bothering the stomach, then as pharmaceutical villains for the faint of heart who wonder if Vioxx and Bextra caused their hypertension or heart attacks. For heart-safe and stomach-safe COX-2 inhibition, eat cherries.
After Michigan State University investigators patented a process to separate cherry from anthocyanin, the folks at Overby Farms used this technique to make cherry little dog biscuits for arthritic pooches. You will enjoy HipBones. The MSU investigators subsequently discovered that humans may lose weight, lower cholesterol, and increase insulin production with high anthocyanin-content foods, so buy some of those biscuits for yourself.
And now this final word about cherries from Iowa's Dr. Raymond Pohl, and then I'm plum cherried out. He writes that the perillyl alcohol in the fruit "shuts down the growth of cancer cells by depriving them of the proteins they need to grow. It works on every kind of cancer we've tested it against."
For a world of testimonials from aching humans and their canine companions, look around the web.
*This is the advertising slogan for "Tart is Smart" cherry juice. Check out tartissmart for more information on cherries than you could ever hope for, plus retail locations where you can buy this good red stuff. For those of you in Colorado, visit your local Albertson's!