Cherry growers funding health-related research
Western cherry growers are supporting university research to help unlock the health benefits of sweet cherries.
Northwest Cherry Growers
Northwest cherry growers are partnering with California cherry farmers to support sweet cherry health-related research.
The Northwest Cherry Growers are contributing $100,000, along with funds from the California Cherry Advisory Board, to support a University of Arizona prostate cancer research project and an anti-inflammatory biomarkers project at the University of California, Davis. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men behind skin cancer, with an estimated 192,000 new patients annually, according to the American Cancer Society.
Previous research showing anti-inflammatory benefits from tart cherries generated media attention for the tart cherry industry and has been a springboard for additional research, said James Michael, promotion director for the Northwest Cherry Growers and Washington State Fruit Commission.
Future research plans include a human feeding study on type II diabetes. Sweet cherries have a low glycemic level, which make them a good fit in a diabetic diet. Researchers also want to further study if the anti-inflammatory properties in cherries will help moderate glucose levels when consumed with meals.
During the 2010 Winter Olympics, Northwest Cherry Growers sponsored the U.S. luge team, providing frozen, sweet cherries to the team. Luger Mark Grimmette, who suffered from three herniated disks on his back, consumed sweet cherries for their anti-inflammatory properties, reported Michael.