The Cherry Research Committee of the Cherry Marketing Institute, a non-profit organization based in Lansing, MI (USA), provided funding for a PhD scholarship associated with this project. Northumbria University funded all other aspects of the study. The funders played no part in the design of the study, the data collection and the analysis, the decision to publish, or the preparation of the manuscript.
Tart Montmorency cherry extracts have been shown to improve cardiovascular health in both cell and animal models. Cherry extracts were shown to have various cardiovascular effects in animal models and cells.
The most common killer in the world is cardiovascular disease (CVD). In Europe, CVD accounts for nearly half of all deaths and the majority of adult deaths. In the US, CVD is responsible for 25% of all deaths. That’s 610,000 premature deaths each year. Even small blood pressure reductions can have a large impact on mortality rates.
Two numbers are used to record blood pressure. The top number is the pressure of the arteries during heart contraction, while the bottom number is the pressure between heartbeats.
Normal blood pressure is 120/80mmHg and below. Pre-hypertension is defined as anything between 120-140mmHg (systolic) and 80-90mmHg(diastolic). Anything higher than this value is considered hypertension. You are more likely to develop heart disease the further you progress along this chain. Hypertension is often associated with other cardiovascular risks, such as being overweight, aging, insulin resistance, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.
Montmorency cherries. www.shutterstock.com
Northumbria University conducted a series of studies on the health benefits of Montmorency Cherry Concentrate in recent years. The concentrate has been shown to improve the quality and quantity of sleep. The focus also reduces symptoms of gout.
In This Study, we investigated the acute effects on arterial stiffness and blood pressure of Montmorency tart cherry consumption in men with early-onset hypertension. The study involved 16 non-smoking, early hypertensive men (with systolic and diastolic pressures of at least 80mmHg each) or both. Participants provided a sample of blood at the beginning of the study and were assessed for their cardiovascular health.
The participants were then given either Montmorency tart cherries concentrate, diluted in water, or fruit cordial as a placebo. Blood samples were taken, and cardiovascular function was assessed one, two hours, three hours, five hours, and eight after the participants drank juice. Blood pressure was taken hourly. During the study period, no food or drinks were provided except mineral water. The second visit was made at least two weeks following the first to test the other intervention drink.
Can save lives
This is the first time that we have seen a study showing that cherry juice can lower systolic pressure. Previous studies have shown that foods like cocoa, beetroot, and grape extraction have a positive impact on blood pressure.
The study is noteworthy because observational data has shown that lowering the average (mean) systolic pressure by 5-6mmHg in 5 years was associated with a reduced risk of stroke of 38% and a reduced risk for coronary heart disease of 23%.
We found that cherry juice concentrated reduced peak blood pressure by 7mmHG compared to the placebo. In mild hypertension, the blood pressure-lowering effects of cherry juice are similar to those seen with antihypertensive medications such as diuretics and beta-blockers. Our results suggest that Montmorency Cherries could be used in conjunction with standard hypertension treatment.
The greatest improvement in systolic pressure was found among people with the highest blood levels of phenolic compounds, which are found in Montmorency Cherries. The phenolic compounds, which are present in many plants, are gaining attention. Contrary to “traditional” nutrients, they do not seem essential for short-term health. However, there are increasing signs that long-term intakes of phenolic compounds may help reduce the risk of cancer and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease. These plant compounds are responsible for many of the health benefits that Montmorency Cherry Juice has previously been shown to have.