Cherries Have the Health Edge
Life, it seems, can be just a bowl of cherries -- and the more sour the better. Scientists say a bowl of them a day can help prevent heart disease and ease the pain of arthritis and gout.
Researchers at Michigan State University have found that cherries contain anthocyanin, a strong antioxidant that also functions as an anti-inflammatory pain-killer. The analgesic effect, in fact, appears to be more powerful than aspirin and comparable to ibuprofen, the key ingredient in many popular over-the-counter drugs.
The difficulty is first, that the cherries have to be of the sour variety, such as those produced in New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and people would have to eat about 20 of them at a sitting to get the recommended 12 to 25 milligrams of anthocyanin that would constitute a beneficial dose.
Instead, says research leader Dr. Muralee Nair, cherry anthocyanins could be marketed in tablet form some day. "Then people can pop a pill instead of eating a whole bowlful of sour cherries. That's pretty hard to do."