If you are at risk for or are currently suffering from heart disease or type 2 diabetes, you should consider adding tart cherries to your diet.
For years, doctors have prescribed a class of drugs called PPAR agonists to patients with metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. PPAR agonists are designed to regulate fat and glucose. But long-term use of these drugs increases the risk of stroke.
New research from the University of Michigan Health System indicates tart cherries provide the same cardiovascular benefits as the prescribed drugs and also reduce the risk of stroke. The research showed that consuming U.S.-produced Montmorency tart cherries activates PPAR isoforms in many of the tissues of the human body. Researchers believe that anthocyanins, the pigments that give the fruit its red color, may be responsible for PPAR activation.
Steven Bolling, M.D., a cardiac surgeon and the laboratory’s director, said the study adds to the group’s growing body of research linking cherries to positive heart health and provides a model for studying the benefits of an anthocyanin-rich diet.
The study was conducted on rats, but one of the researchers indicated the results are a positive sign for those currently on PPAR medications.