Take the Cherry Challenge (page 60 of the September 2009 issue of Prevention magazine or see our 8/25 blog post) then scroll down to check your answers.
1-C: Melatonin is a naturally occurring antioxidant in Tart Cherries that helps maintain normal sleep patterns. Tart cherries are one of the few known food sources of melatonin. Dr. Russel Reiter, a leader in melatonin research, gives tart cherries high marks for their melatonin content. “We were surprised at how much melatonin was in cherries, specifically the Montmorency variety,” says Reiter. “Cherry juice concentrate, which involves greatly reducing the water content, has ten times the melatonin of the raw fruit.”
2-B: Montmorency dried tart cherries were certified heart healthy by the American Heart Association.
“Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans today, so it’s important we continue researching ways people can improve their diet to help reduce key risk factors,” said Dr. Steven F. Bolling, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center who also heads the U-M Cardioprotection Research Laboratory. “We know excess body fat increases the risk for heart disease. This research gives us one more support point suggesting that diet changes, such as including cherries, could potentially lower heart disease risk.”
3-B: Yes. Research indicates tart cherries have substantial amounts of potent antioxidants including melatonin and anthocyanins. These and other compounds found in tart cherries are believed to maintain healthy joints and a healthy cardiovascular system, among other benefits.
4-C: Tart cherry juice after a workout is the way many athletes speed muscle recovery.
5-C: ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (measuring the antioxidant capacity of foods). We sent King Orchards Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate to Brunswick Labs in Massachusetts for antioxidant testing. Their lab results reflected 7,077 ORAC units per one ounce of cherry juice concentrate.
So, how’d you do? We’d like to know.