By TAP Integrative

In the United States, more than 600,000 people per year die from a cardiovascular-related event. That’s one in four deaths attributable to heart disease.

Research has shown that foods rich in polyphenols can have heart health benefits—improving blood pressure, insulin resistance, cholesterol, and platelet activity. Polyphenols appear in high concentrations in many fruits and vegetables. Montmorency tart cherries (MCs) (Prunus cerasus L.) are particularly high in polyphenols, including the flavonoids isorhamnetin, kaempferol, quercetin, catechin, epicatechin, procyanidins, and anthocyanins.

In previous studies, MCs have been shown to lessen inflammation and oxidative stress, speed up exercise recovery, and, in animal and cell studies, exert a number of heart-protecting effects. Some researchers have theorized that the benefits of MCs may stem from the metabolites of the anthocyanins they contain (specifically vanillic acid and protocatechuic acid).

Studying the cardiovascular effects of MC consumption in humans has produced mixed results. In an effort to clarify how MCs may affect heart disease risk, researchers recruited 15 men with early hypertension and gave them either a 60 mL dose of MC concentrate or placebo. They then measured microvascular reactivity, arterial stiffness, blood pressure, and phenolic acid absorption after 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 hours.

The results, published in 2016 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggested MC may, in fact, have an effect on some cardiovascular disease risk factors. The data showed significantly lowered systolic blood pressure over a period of 3 hours. In addition, the improvements were closely linked to increases in circulating protocatechuic and vanillic acid at 1–2 hours.

Though small, this study provides some evidence that MC juice may reduce systolic blood pressure in men with early hypertension, and those improvements may be attributable to increases in circulating metabolites of the juice’s anthocyanins.


Reference

Keane KM, George TW, Constantinou CL, Brown MA, Clifford T, Howatson G. Effects of Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus Cerasus L.) consumption on vascular function in men with early hypertension. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Jun;103(6):1531-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.123869. Epub 2016 May 4.


 

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease