Friday, April 30, 2010

Cyanidin, Cherries, and Autoimmune Disease

I have three cherry trees in our garden - one Rainier and two Bing. I love, love, love cherries. My trees are still fairly young, and so far they only produce enough cherries to keep John and I munching for a few days. I'm willing to be patient, though. The Pacific Northwest is perfect cherry-producing territory and I'll bet within the next few years my trees will be bearing more of those juicy little globes than we can handle. I hope.

I'm thinking that I should add another type of cherry tree to my little orchard - a tart cherry - such as Montmorency or Northstar. Especially after reading this article which explains the powerful anti-inflammatory effects found in tart cherries, specifically, cyanidin.

And Sjoggies all know - or should know - that inflammation is the root of all evil in autoimmune disease. To read more about the autoimmune inflammatory response, read this and this. Pay attention - this stuff is important. *Julia looks sternly over the top of her glasses*.

 Michigan State University studies indicate that cyanidin found in tart cherries is ten times more effective as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever than aspirin.


Research subjects drank 8oz. of tart cherry juice daily. After four weeks, subjects had significantly lowered inflammatory markers as well as reduced triglycerides. Other studies suggest that cyanidin may also have potential as anti-tumor agents, and may benefit diabetics as well.

Go get yourself a pound or two of cherries. I will too.

Images found here and here.


Jenny P said...

I feel like it's 'ask the teacher' time...I had heard about the anti-inflamitory properties of cherries as well, but not this much detail. I just remember hearing that eating about 35 cherries had the same effect as a dose of tylenol. So, do you know if sweet cherries are alleged to have similar properties to the tart ones, if perhaps in lesser quantities? I love love love cherries too and can eat a bagful myself, but the tart ones might be asking a bit much:)

Julia Oleinik said...

Great question. From what I could gather, all fruits with bright red flesh and skins have some form of anthocyanins, which includes cyanidin. Tart cherries have a higher concentration of cyanidin. I would hazard a guess that sweet cherries have anthocyanins in lesser amounts. Mmmmm.........

Anonymous said...

Julia -Just started following your blog a couple of weeks ago. I appreciate the info and the humor. It's easy to be "woe is me" about autoimmune disease, but I like how you can laugh about the hassles of our lives.


Anonymous said...

I have Sjogren's. I recently discovered the anti-inflammatory effects of tart cherries by accident. After eating about 1L of sour cherries over a weekend, I felt (atypically) great. The pain in my joints disappeared and I felt generally well. A google search confirmed my observation. I returned to the orchard and bought their juice concentrate, which I now drink daily. My joint pain is much improved, though it's hard to tell if it's from my newly started methotrexate or the cherry juice. The orchard's web-site has a lot of great information regarding the health benefits of tart cherries ( Since I can't drink alcohol anymore, it's nice to have something good and relaxing to drink in the evening.