Cherries for Better Health

By Charlie Nardozzi

Life is better with a bowl of cherries. Recent research indicates that eating fresh cherries may reduce the pain of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Although researchers have suspected that cherries have anti-inflammatory properties, this is the first study using human subjects to test the theory.

Ten, healthy, 22- to 40-year-old women were asked to eat a bowl of 45 fresh 'Bing' cherries for breakfast and to avoid eating any other fruits or vegetables or drinking any wine for 2 days prior to their cherry feast. Researchers studied the amount of uric acid -- a chemical found in joints of gout sufferers -- in the women after eating cherries. Gout is a particularly painful form of arthritis. After the cherry breakfast, the amount of uric acid in the blood dramatically decreased, and the amount expelled from the body in the form of urine dramatically increased.

Other indicators of inflammation, such as nitric oxide levels, also decreased after the women ate cherries. A larger and longer study following healthy men and women over a one-month period of cherry eating is currently being conducted.

So belly up to the cherry bowl bar and indulge in some fresh cherries to help keep the pain of arthritis at bay. For more information on this study go to the ARS-USDA Web site at

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