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De voordelen van kersen*
Uit drie studies blijken de voordelen van zure kersen. Kersen zijn goed tegen verschillende symptomen van het metabool syndroom zoals hoog cholesterol en overgewicht en goed bij artrose. Kersen worden ook zo blijkt uit de derde studie met 12 personen, snel in het lichaam opgenomen te worden en hebben minimaal 12 uur lang een duidelijke antioxidatieve kracht. In de eerste studie weliswaar met muizen kregen of een vetrijk- of vetarmdieet al dan niet aangevuld met het poeder van zure kersen. Na 12 weken bleken de muizen met de aanvulling, ongeacht het dieet 11% lagere cholesterol waarden te hebben. Het lichaamsvet van deze muizen was ook 14% minder, vooral in de buikstreek. Verder vond men in deze muizen 40% minder van de ontstekingsmarker TNFa en 31% van de ontstekingsmarker IL6 waardoor de kans op ontstekingen aanzienlijk minder was bij deze muizen.
In de twee studie kregen mensen met artrose 8 weken lang een supplement van poeder van zure kersen. De bevindingen van de deelnemers waren zo goed, minder pijn en betere bewegingsmogelijkheden dat een nieuwe, dubbel blind studie opgezet wordt.
Tart Cherries May Help Reduce Belly Fat
A diet containing tart cherries may help reduce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and presented at the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association.
The study was funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute, which did not have any involvement in its design, implementation or analysis.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, including high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high fasting blood sugar, low HDL ("good") cholesterol and central obesity (obesity characterized mainly by belly fat). In the current study, researchers evaluated several symptoms of metabolic syndrome in mice that were fed one of two diets, either with or without added whole tart cherry powder.
The mice were fed either a high-fat, moderate carbohydrate diet, with 45 percent of its calories from fat and 40 percent from carbohydrates, or a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet, with 10 percent of its calories from fat and 75 percent from carbohydrates.
Mice eating added cherry powder as part of either diet reduced their cholesterol levels by approximately 11 percent after 12 weeks. Their body fat was only 54 percent, compared with 63 percent in the non-cherry fed mice, with the majority of the fat reduction around the midsection. 
The inflammation markers TNF-alpha and IL-6 were also lowered 40 percent and 31 percent in the cherry-fed mice, respectively. The researchers even found, upon genetic analysis, that the activity of the genes producing these two compounds was reduced in the mice, suggesting that tart cherries may reduce inflammation at a systemic level.
In contrast to the healthy inflammation that is part of the body's normal response to injury, chronic inflammation has been linked to increased risk for many diseases.
Tart cherries are particularly high in antioxidants, to which the researchers attributed the effects observed in the study. They are different than sweet cherries, which are normally eaten raw.

Cherries show promise in osteoarthritis pain relief
For the estimated 27 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis, pain relief may come with a cherry on top.
According to researchers with the Baylor Research Institute, tart cherries, in pill form, may be a promising pain-reliever for this common and debilitating form of arthritis.
More than half of the patients enrolled in a 2007 pilot study at the Baylor Research Institute experienced a significant improvement in pain and function after taking the cherry pills for eight weeks. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is considered degenerative and typically affects the hands, feet, spine, and large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. Patients with osteoarthritis of the knees were enrolled in this pilot study to assess potential efficacy of the tart cherry pills.
"The current treatment of osteoarthritis is largely focused on controlling pain through use of over-the-counter acetaminophen or prescription pain medications as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs," explains John J. Cush, M.D., rheumatologist and principal investigator of the study. "These conventional medications are widely used, but have not been shown to alter the natural history of the disease. In some cases, overuse may contribute to significant gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, hematologic, renal and liver toxicity."
Made from Montmorency tart cherries, this preparation is made up of ground whole cherries and given as a soft gelatin capsule (marketed under the brand name CherryFlex?).
"This specific type of tart cherry is one of the best studied natural products and anecdotally has been claimed to have a salutary effect on osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis as well," adds Dr. Cush.
Baylor Research Institute together with the Arthritis Care & Research Institute is currently enrolling patients in a second study, which will test cherry pills versus placebo in an eight week double blind study.


Antioxidant Benefits Of Tart Cherries Reinforced By New Human Study
Eating just one and a half servings of tart cherries could significantly boost antioxidant activity in the body, according to new University of Michigan research reported at the 2009 Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans.1 In the study, healthy adults who ate a cup and a half of frozen cherries had increased levels of antioxidants, specifically five different anthocyanins - the natural antioxidants that give cherries their red color. 
Twelve healthy adults, aged 18 to 25 years, were randomly assigned to eat either one and a half cups or three cups of frozen tart cherries. Researchers analyzed participants' blood and urine at regular intervals after they ate the cherries and found increased antioxidant activity for up to 12 hours after eating cherries. 
"This study documents for the first time that the antioxidants in tart cherries do make it into the human bloodstream and is coupled with increased antioxidant activity that could have a positive impact," said Sara L. Warber, MD, Co-Director of University of Michigan Integrative Medicine and principal investigator of the study. "And, while more research is needed, what's really great is that a reasonable amount of cherries could potentially deliver benefits, like reducing risk factors for heart disease and inflammation." 
Previous animal studies have linked cherries and cherry compounds to important benefits, including helping to lower risk factors for heart disease and impacting inflammation. Dr. Warber's colleagues at the University of Michigan have previously shown in animals that cherry-enriched diets can lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce triglycerides, an unhealthy type of blood fat.2 Other benefits of cherries found in animal studies include a 14 percent lower body weight and less "belly fat," the type linked with increased heart disease risk and type 2 diabetes.3 
"It's encouraging when research like ours finds that great-tasting fruit can lead to real-life benefits, continuing to underscore the importance of whole foods in the diet," said Dr. Warber. 
1. Uhley VE, Seymour EM, Wunder J, Kaufman P, Kirakosyan A, Al-Rawi S, Warber S. Pharmacokinetic study of the absorption and metabolism of Montmorency tart cherry anthocyanins in human subjects. Experimental Biology 2009, 565.4 
2. Seymour EM, Singer AAM, Bennink MR, Bolling SF. Cherry-enriched diets reduce metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress in lean Dahl-SS rats. Experimental Biology 2007, 225.8. Presented in minisymposium 225, Dietary Bioactive Compounds: Chronic Disease Risk Reduction. 
3. Seymour EM, Lewis A, Kirakosyan A, Bolling S. The Effect of Tart Cherry-Enriched Diets on Abdominal Fat Gene Expression in Rats. American Dietetic Association FNCE 2008. 
4. Survey conducted by IRI Data, 2008 
5. Survey conducted by The Hartman Group, 2008
(Mei 2009)


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