Tart Cherry and Arthritis

In this study (Journal of Natural Products, 1999), researchers used the equivalent of 20 tart cherries. They found anthocyanins in the tart cherries inhibited two enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2, that play a role in the body's production of prostaglandins, natural chemicals involved in inflammation. This process to block inflammation is similar to the effects of aspirin and traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Tart cherry are also good sources of antioxidants, substances which destroy the damaging molecules thought to contribute to many diseases, including arthritis.

Researchers from Michigan State University found anthocyanins, the same chemicals that give tart cherries their color, may have more powerful anti-inflammatory effects than aspirin.

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