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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Heart Health: Choose Cherries

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It’s no coincidence that February is both National Cherry Month and American Heart Month. Eating RED foods like cherries can be a powerful way to protect our hearts. A growing body of science indicates that tart cherries’ powerful bundle of antioxidants and phytonutrients – which also give cherries their bright red color – may be beneficial in reducing inflammation associated with atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries and reduce certain risk factors for heart disease. Read my previous post about the benefits of cherries for athletes or people with chronic pain.

Studies conducted by the University of Michigan revealed:

  • A cherry-enriched diet reduced markers of inflammation, belly fat in animals by 14 percent, total cholesterol levels by 11 percent.
  • Consuming a reasonable amount of cherries could lead to increased antioxidant activity in the human body, which could have a positive impact on reducing risk factors for heart disease and inflammation.

I love the sweet-tart taste of cherries and often throw frozen cherries into my oatmeal (put them in frozen and micro with dry oatmeal and milk). I also love them dried and use them in trail mix or just by themselves for a tart little treat. They are available year round as dried, frozen or as juice.

Now you can learn how to add a pop of color and a dose of heart health to your daily diet by tuning in to a LIVE cooking demo at choosecherries.com at 1 pm EST on Wednesday, Feb. 17. My fellow Registered Dietitian Keri Glassman will show you how easy it is to choose cherries and you can follow along with her simple-to-prepare cherry recipes and cooking tips. And, for every person who tunes in to the class, the Cherry Marketing Institute will donate $1 (up to $5,000) to the American Heart Association. Now that’s a reason to eat red!

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Tags: Antioxidants

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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