USDA Study Touts Health Benefits of NW Sweet Cherries
According to the results of a recent study conducted by researchers at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Western Human Nutrition Research Center, the Northwest Cherry Growers are pleased to announce that consuming about 45 (280 g) sweet Bing cherries significantly decreased circulating concentrations of specific inflammatory biomarkers in the blood. According to Dr. Kent Erickson, Professor at UC Davis School of Medicine and a collaborator in the study, “Many studies by other investigators have demonstrated that some of those inflammation markers are associated with increased risk for some chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.” The findings of the study have been published in the March 2013 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.
Darshan S. Kelley, PhD, a Research Chemist at the Western Human Nutrition Research Center, USDA-ARS and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis has been spearheading the study and the effects of sweet Bing cherries on the markers of human health. The study was initiated in 2006 and supported financially by the Northwest Cherry Growers. The purpose was to examine the effects of fresh sweet cherry consumption on concentrations of risk factors for chronic diseases. Researchers studied 16 women and two men who had slightly elevated C-reactive protein levels, an inflammatory biomarker, and who were between the ages of 45 and 61. The initial results in 2006 indicated that there was a reduction of C-reactive proteins after consumption of sweet cherries. In 2010, researchers used automated methodology to examine a broad spectrum of 89 biomarkers of diseases with stored frozen plasma samples. A second round of more detailed analysis demonstrated that cherries had more systemic impact than originally observed. The further testing showed that the sweet cherries had an effect on nine biomarkers rather than just the three originally identified.
According to Dr. Kelley the results show that several interlinked pathways of inflammation were affected. Because of the link between inflammatory markers and some chronic diseases shown by other investigators the changes in the identified biomarkers suggest that consuming sweet cherries may reduce risk or modify the severity of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, CVD, blood pressure and cancer.
According to Ed Kenoyer, a third-generation cherry grower in Washington State, “My grandmother always thought her arthritis was better in the summer when our cherries were in season. We’d pick a few each morning for the bowl in the kitchen. I guess it turns out she was right.”
Northwest cherries have been shipping daily for over a week now in the Northwest and will continue to do so into August. Consumers should see plenty of these healthy treats on the produce shelves for the Fourth of July holiday.