Science backs benefits of tart cherries for treating pain

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Research supports tart cherries for controlling pain.
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Researchers are again touting the benefits of tart cherries that they say can be a treatment for millions of pain sufferers with arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions, without side effects of medications that often lead to complications and more prescriptions.

Tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food

In findings presented by Oregon Health & Science University at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference (ACSM) in San Francisco, California, Scientists even went as far to say that tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food.

Even the researchers are intrigued by the notion that food can control pain to the same degree as pharmaceutical medications, but without the side effects.

Previous research has suggested tart cherries inhibit enzymes in the body that are linked to pain in inflammation.

Kerry Kuehl, M.D, Dr.PH., M.S., Oregon Health & Science University, principal study investigator said in a press release, "I'm intrigued by the potential for a real food to offer such a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit – especially for active adults."

The study found just how good tart cherry is for controlling arthritis pain when researchers enrolled 20 women with osteoarthritis in a study, age 40 to 70.

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The women drank tart cherry juice twice a day for three weeks. At the end of the study they reported a significant reduction in pain.

Drinking the juice, or eating cherries also has health benefits because the fruit is rich in antioxidants and can help you get a good night's sleep because they contain melatonin.

Osteoarthritis is common especially among athletes because it develops from wear and tear on the joints. Pain and inflammation associated with the condition is the result of cartilage breakdown.

Studies also show tart cherry juice could help athletes recover from pain after strenuous events. If you suffer from joint pain, check out this recovery routine from sports dietician Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D. LDN, CSSD, called the “red recovery routine”. It’s possible to control pain and inflammation with a simple dietary intervention, which is good news for millions of pain sufferers who need to avoid medications that can interact with other prescriptions and cause side effects.

Source:
Sleigh, AE, Kuehl KS, Elliot DL .
“Efficacy of tart cherry juice to reduce inflammation among patients with osteoarthritis”
American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. May 30, 2012

Resource:
The Science Behind Tart Cherries

Image credit: Morguefile

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