Cherries are more than just delicious snacks. They are nutritious and beneficial for the arthritis-ridden joints. Several studies have documented the benefits of cherries for arthritis patients.
Cherries to Fight Arthritis
Nutrients in Cherries
Cherries are one of the most nutritionally dense foods. Studies have revealed that they are rich sources of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, carotenoid, quercetin, anthocyanins, hydroxycinnamates and melatonin.
Although all species of cherries are beneficial for people with arthritis, researches have primarily focused tart cherries and Bing cherries in fighting arthritis. To fight arthritis, you can eat cherry fruits, drink cherry juice or consume supplements containing cherry extract.
Cherries for Gouty Arthritis
According to preliminary studies, consuming about twenty cherries per day can prevent recurrent gout attack. Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints. In a Boston University of Medical School Study researchers have found that having a cup of cherries, equivalent to two servings of cherries, each day, reduces the risk of recurrent gouty arthritis flare-ups by almost 40 percent.
People susceptible to frequent gout flare-ups can realize the positive effect of cherries within two days after consuming two servings of the fruit. Researchers at the University of California at Davis have observed the plasma urate lowering property of cherries in a study reported in the Journal of Nutrition. Reduction in the urate level in the blood indicates that cherries can be consumed for treating hyperuricaemia or high uric acid level in the blood, which increases the risk of developing gouty arthritis.
Cherries for Osteoarthritis
Studies have also revealed that inflammatory osteoarthritis can be treated with cherries. According to an Oregon Health and Science University study, consuming tart cherry juice twice each day, for up to three weeks, causes significant reduction in the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
The study reported decrease in the inflammatory markers in the blood of the participants after drinking tart cherry juice daily. In another study, scientists at the Baylor Research Institute found that consuming tart cherry extract daily caused more than 20 percent reduction in osteoarthritis pain.
Cherries Fight Inflammation
According to scientists of Oregon Health and Science University cherries are the best anti-inflammatory foods. Anthocyanins, the compounds responsible for the bright red color of cherries, are the main anti-inflammatory components of the cherry fruit.
Higher the anthocyanin content in a cherry species, the brighter is the color of the cherry fruit. These plant compounds suppress activities of enzymes COX-1 and COX-2, which stimulate production of prostaglandin, compounds that trigger inflammation.
Tart Cherries Vs. Sweet Cherries
The anthocyanin content in tart cherries is slightly higher than that in the sweet cherries. However, there is no evidence to suggest whether tart cherries are more effective than the sweet cherries in fighting arthritis. Tart cherries contain less sugar than the sweet cherries, and they therefore contain fewer calories than the sweet cherry species.
Side Effects of Cherries
Cherries are considered safe for daily consumption. However, sorbitol, a type of carbohydrate present in cherries, may worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.