Research has long established the anti-inflammatory benefits of tart cherries, often linked to the fruit’s powerful red compounds called anthocyanins. According to new studies presented at the Experimental Biology annual conference in Boston, tart cherries also could have surprising new benefits: supporting strong bones and reducing stroke-related complications. Oklahoma State University researchers found that adding Montmorency tart cherries to the diet reduced age-related bone loss in mice. Results suggest increased bone density and signs of increased bone-building during aging. University of Michigan researchers compared the effects of Montmorency tart cherries to a diabetes medication in rats prone to stroke. While the drug is helpful for diabetes, it can also increase stroke risk.  Compared to drug, tart cherry intake significantly improved blood pressure and improved balance and coordination as the rats aged. Interestingly, the combination of tart cherries and drug was better than drug alone. Both teams of researchers suggest the benefits may be linked to the tart red fruit’s anthocyanin content, the antioxidant compounds responsible for the fruit’s bright red color. “The potential of both of these studies is tremendous,” noted Mitch Seymour, Ph.D., RAC, at the University of Michigan Health System. “The more we study tart cherries, the more powerful, unique benefits we uncover.”
-- Cherry Marketing Institute,