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texas health science center
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Tart Cherries: A Healthy Fruit For Weight Loss
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If you are looking for an exotic and great tasting dessert which is also one of the best fruits for weight loss choose cherries. Cherries are high in a lot of great phytonutrients not the least of which are anthocyanins and melatonin. You may have heard of anthocyanins in connection with red wine or colorful fruits such as strawberries, cranberries, blueberries or grapes. However, one of the most potent of this group may be cherries, of which the tart ones have more to offer than the ones that are sweet. Not only that, tart cherries have a high level of, and are one of the few known food sources of melatonin which helps regulate sleep. Both anthocyanins and melatonin may promote weight loss making tart cherries a valuable tool for anyone challenged with extra pounds.

Several animal studies have looked at anthocyanins from cherries as possible weight loss remedies. For example a 2006 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry isolated anthocyanins from cherries and fed them to glucose intolerant mice. The result was significant weight loss and a significant decrease in the concentration of triglyceriedes in the liver. Similarly a 2009 study at the University of Michigan in the Journal of Medicinal Food fed tart cherries to rats and found this was associated with lower blood lipids and body fat. The scientists concluded that tart cherries may reduce the risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Tart cherries are also high in melatonin which helps regulate your biological clock affecting when you fall asleep and when you awaken. Aging and trauma (as in stress) can reduce the amount of melatonin produced naturally by your pineal gland. Fortunately we have tart cherries which contain more melatonin per gram than is found in our blood. Dr. Russell Reiter of the University of Texas Health Science Center and a melatonin specialist suggests that just a handful of cherries can increase the blood levels of melatonin.

While sleep is a good thing in general, it can be linked to weight gain, if you don't get enough of it. For example, in a 2009 study at UCLA the scientists discovered that sleep loss may cause hormonal fluctuations which result in increased appetite leading to weight gain. Can cherries help? The answer may be yes according to a study of elderly subjects who experienced chronic insomnia. Subjects were evaluated on measures of sleep quantity and quality both with and without drinking cherry juice. Results showed drinking cherry juice was associated with statistically significant improvements in both.

Clearly cherries have something to offer to anyone wanting to lose weight. While they are not a magic formula and may not be the quick way to lose weight in a week that we all seek, they definitely may give a boost to an already healthy weight loss plan. Besides which, unlike a lot of so called best fruits and vegetables for weight loss, cherries taste good. And even if you don't like them, you can still take advantage of what they have to offer by taking tart cherry extract in pill form. Of course, consult your doctor about any changes in your diet.


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