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Natural Awakenings

Cherries for the Heart: More than a Sweet Treat

The tangy taste of tart cherries might deliver more than a treat for the taste buds. Preliminary work with laboratory rats at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center suggests that mixing whole tart cherry powder into the animals’ diet led to less weight gain and a reduction of inflammation. Researchers explain that inflammation is a common indicator of heart disease and diabetes. More, those on the cherry supplement also had significantly lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than the control group.

“These new findings are encouraging, especially in the light of what is becoming known about the interplay between inflammation, blood lipids, obesity and body composition in cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Steven Bolling, a cardiac surgeon at the university and the laboratory’s director. A pilot study to determine the effects of tart cherries in human diet is underway.

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