Why Tart Cherries are good for you
Canadian grown Tart Cherries are loaded antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Tart cherries are high in anti-inflammatory benefits , anthocyanins and melatonin. Tart cherries are one of the few known food sources of melatonin, a potent antioxidant. Eating tart cherries or drinking Solberry tart cherry puree, may help to improve the body’s circadian rhythms and natural sleep patterns.
A recent study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Centre found that tart cherries contain substantial amounts of melatonin, at levels higher than normally found in human blood. Montmorency cherries, which account for the majority of tart cherries produced in North America, contain 135 nanograms (ng) of melatonin per gram.
Role of Melatonin in human body
Melatonin is naturally produced by the body’s pineal gland at the apex of the brain. Melatonin does much more than regulate our sleep-wake cycle. In addition, studies suggest that melatonin may help protect the vascular system. Melatonin can help to lessen inflammation, and reduce ischemia and reperfusion injury associated with surgery (Tan 2000, 2003, Cuzzocrea 2001, Lissoni 1997, Reiter 2001, 2000).
Another study, conducted at St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Japan, found that feeding chicks a diet containing plants rich in melatonin raised blood levels of melatonin. This confirms that melatonin ingested from the diet is absorbed and enters the general circulation. After melatonin is absorbed, it is capable of binding to sites in the brain and other tissues (Hattori 1995).
As a result, eating just a handful of tart cherries or drinking tart cherry puree may help to increase melatonin levels in blood, thereby improving the body’s natural sleep patterns and potentially providing other health benefits.
Tart cherries are rich sources of other phenolic compounds like ellagic acid and quercetin. Both ellagic acid and quercetin are potent antioxidant compounds. Eating fruits rich in phenolic compounds helps to boost immune system and increase resistance against diseases.