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Three new studies link eating red to a healthy heart. Tart cherries contain powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease.

• Reduced Inflammation and Cardiovascular Risk: Drinking eight ounces of tart cherry juice daily for four weeks significantly reduced important markers of inflammation in a study of 10 overweight or obese adults.

• Reduced Atherosclerosis and other Heart Disease Risks: A cherry diet (at 1% of diet as tart cherry powder) reduced C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation by up to 36 percent and lowered levels of total cholesterol by 26 percent in a five-month mouse study.

• Powerful Antioxidants: The heart benefits may be due to the unique combination of natural antioxidant compounds in the “Super Fruit.” About one cup of freeze-dried tart cherries have an ORAC of over 10,000, and contain a diverse combination of antioxidant compounds and phytochemicals likely responsible for health benefits, according to the researchers.

Researchers attribute the benefits to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds in the red fruit called Anthocyanins, also responsible for the bright red color in cherries. In addition to heart-heath benefits, research also suggests cherries could affect inflammation related to muscle recovery post-workout and arthritis.

Available year-round in dried, juice, and frozen form, it’s easy to incorporate the RED power of cherries into the daily diet to manage inflammation—from topping dried cherries in oatmeal to making a heart-smart smoothie with cherry juice and lowfat yogurt.