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Cherries 101

Eat 100 cherries/day and reap these health benefits

Arthritis & Gout... POW!

Studies have found that cherry juice reduces uric acid levels, fighting inflammation, as much as some pain medications!

Blood Pressure...BAM!

This just out! 2015 study shows, drinking cherry juice may have a positive effect on your blood pressure.

Recovery... KAPOOW!

Attention athletes! Run of Red! Recover faster, reduce muscle pain with less muscle damage. Include cherries in your post workout recovery drink!

50+ -Scientific studies link cherries to an array of health benefits.

- Cherry Marketing Institute

In 2013, the University of Saskatchewan found our cherries contained extremely high levels of anti-oxidant; anthocyanins, phenolics and flavonoids.

Sleep...Zzz Zzz Zzz

Researchers believe the combination of anthocyanins and melatonin gets you a better nights rest. Who doesn't want that?

Healthy Heart... Boom!

The anthocyanins in cherries reduce your risk of heart disease and may reduce cholesterol triglycerides and inflammation. All hail the cherry bomb!



Welcome!

Saskatoons - a New Super Fruit.
Saskatoon berries can be considered as one kind of ‘Superfruit.’ The word ‘Superfruit’ refers to fruit which contains high sources of antioxidants. From a nutraceutical perspective, antioxidant-rich fruits have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-heart problem effects on human body. The benefits of antioxidant have contributed against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and act as a protective guard to our immune systems.

The ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value is one of the methods used to measure the total antioxidant activity in fruit. In the tables below the ORAC values show Saskatoon berries are naturally high in antioxidants and rank highest in both fresh fruits, and in fruit pulp relative to other common fruits.

Whole Fresh Fruit - ORAC

Fruit Pulp - ORAC

Research evidence shows that antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of cancers.1,2 Studies also showed that there are potential anticarcinogenic activity of anthocyanins in fruits and fruit products, and anthocyanins may possess multifaceted actions including antioxidation and anticarinigenesis and may have inhibitory effects on colon carcinogenesis.3

Anthocyanins Show Potent Anti-Obesity Potential...

Anthocyanins, antioxidant pigments from fruit and vegetables, have a "significant potency" against fat cells and could be used for the prevention of weight gain, suggests a new study from Japan.4

Saskatoon berries are exclusively only grown in Canada, with the largest supply coming from the prairie provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba.

Read more information on the nutraceutical and nutritional benefits of this unique fruit, Nutrition & Health.


¹ Ozga, J. A., Saeed, A. and Reinecke, D. M. (2006). Anthocyanins and nutrient components of saskatoon fruits (Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt.). Can. J. Plant Sci. 86: 193-197.

² U. Nothlings, S.P. Murphy, L.R. Wilkens, B.E. Henderson and L.N. Kolonel. Flavonols and Pancreatic Cancer Risk-The Multiethnic Cohort Study. American Journal of Epidemiology; V 166,8: 924-931. ³ C. Hu, B.H.L. Kwok, D.D Kitts. (2005). Saskatoon berries (Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt.) scavenge free radicals and inhibit intracellular oxidation. Food Research international 38: 1079-1085. 4Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Volume 56, Number 3, Pages 642-646.


Nutraceutical Properties of Cherries

'Listen to Rick Sawatsky research technician U. of S. and see what all the excitement is about!'

Quote "Researchers in Michigan have found that tart cherries, one of the parental species of dwarf cherries, contain compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cherries have been linked to beneficial health effects in that cherry growers, who eat six times the amount of cherries as the average American, have a lower incidence of cancer and heart conditions. The most active antioxidant compounds in the cherry fruit are superior to vitamins E and C and some synthetic antioxidants. The same researchers have speculated that the natural antioxidants in cherry fruit could be extracted for use in food processing. It is interesting to note that these superior antioxidants in tart cherries are anthocyanins that are associated with the bright red color. Our dwarf cherries have a more intense red color than Montmerency, the most commonly grown tart cherry in Michigan. Our dwarf cherry fruit has not been tested for antioxidant concentration, but it is reasonable to expect high levels.

These scientists also found that compounds from tart cherry fruit, have anti-inflammatory properties which support anecdotal information that tart cherries may relieve the pain of gout and arthritis. A family member reports relief from gout after eating our dwarf cherry fruit.

A food scientist in Michigan reports that adding tart cherry fruit to ground meat resulted in 50% greater reduction in the formation of mutagenic compounds during cooking. This was compared to ground meat to which other antioxidant compounds had been added. Dr. Alden Booren, professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, says, "We found that tart cherries reduced the formation of mutagenic compounds by 90% - a 50% greater reduction than with the other compounds. They are the most significant source that we have found for preventing mutagen formation in ground beef. Our trained taste testers found the cherry-beef mixtures to be very desirable and had equal to or better flavor than those from lean ground beef. We also found that reheated ground beef with cherries was essentially devoid of oxidized or rancid flavors." He and other scientists believe that the antioxidant properties of tart cherries are responsible for these effects. For complete information, see the Cherry Marketing Institute" end of quote.

So what is a Nutraceutical you ask? A nutraceutical is a food or food component considered to provide medical or health benefits. These foods assist in the prevention or treatment of disease. This is a new area of study, but scientists are now just proving that mom was right. She always said to eat your fruits and vegetables. Live long and healthy - Eat your berries!

Anthocyanin (flavonoids) Briefly Explained

Excerpt from: Willy Kalt, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre

"An important group of health-promoting phytochemicals are the flavonoids. These compounds are particularly abundant in fruits, but also occur in vegetables. One notable group of flavonoids are the anthocyanins. The anthocyanins are pigments - they impart the red, blue, purple color to the peel of fruits such as Saskatoon berries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, etc. A good indicator of anthocyanin content of fruit is the color intensity of its juice. For example, a blueberry juice would be much more deeply colored than say a strawberry juice, due to its higher anthocyanin content.

One important property of the flavonoids is that they are antioxidants. This means that antioxidant compounds like flavonoids may provide some protection to human against the deleterious effect of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been strongly implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease, many types and cancers, and certain neurodegenerative diseases."

Flavonoids have other health benefits. For example, flavonoids have a “blood-thinning” effect; they inhibit the aggregation of blood platelets which otherwise contributes to the formation of blood clots and the deposition of atherosclerotic deposits in blood vessels. As antioxidants, flavonoids inhibit the oxidation of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and together these effects contribute to the general protective properties of these compounds.

The “French Paradox,” which is the unexpectedly low incidence of cardiovascular disease in high-risk groups (smokers with high-fat diets) has been explained by the high consumption of flavonoid-rich red wines in these populations.


Saskatoon Nutrients The Journal of Food Science – Volume 47 1982 Dr. G. Mazza

Saskatoons appear to be an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper and carotene. A 100 gm serving of fresh saskatoons will supply 88 mg. of calcium or 11 % of the Recommended Dietary Allowance.

Saskatoons can be considered a better source of calcium than red meats, vegetables, and cereals.

Saskatoons supply 33.8 % of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of manganese and 7% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of copper.

Recent research indicates saskatoons have very high components of phenolics, flavonols, and anthocyanins.

Saskatoons are high in sugar, rich in Vitamin C, and also contain more than three times as much iron and copper in the same weight as raisins.

Excerpts taken from Linda Kershaw, Botanist, Lone Pine Publishing
Historically, the native people used saskatoons for many things. The berries treated stomachache, liver trouble, sore eyes and the pains and bleeding of childbirth. Dysentery, painful menstruation and bleeding during pregnancy were treated with the inner bark or roots. The settlers adopted the Saskatoon as a medicine too. Diarrhea was treated with crushed green berries, and ripe berry juice was said to act as a mild laxative and to relieve an upset stomach. The inner bark was made into a brew for eye wash which treated blurred vision from sun, dust or snow blindness. If a pregnant woman was injured, saskatoon root tea was immediately administered.

Black Currants Excerpts from Pal Tamas, Leading Researcher and Plant Breeder, Sweden
“Black currants can rightfully be called the “King of the Berries” due to the intrinsic biological and nutrition-physiological values of its fruits…it contains several-fold higher concentrations of potassium, iron, vitamin C. organic acids and biologically active plant phenolic compounds than other fruits. In this respect, the blackcurrants constitute a distinct group among the fruits…These compounds exert a synergistic effect in the human organism.

The different plant phenolic compounds, the so-called bioflavonoids, display a large diversity of biological functions in the human organism. The most important of these biological activities is the so-called vitamin P activity that has a vasodilatory effect and also affects the flexibility of the capillaries. Research has established the preventive and therapeutic effects of the biologically active compounds of black currants. Furthermore, they were also shown to stimulate the digestive processes. It was determined that the blackcurrant has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and weak anti-bacterial effect as well as protective effects on harmful radiation.

The biological effects of some of the biologically active compounds of black currants surpass known chemical compounds with similar effects. As a consequence, medicines and raw materials for medicines based on blackcurrant extracts have been put on the market. Clinical studies performed in Bulgaria, under the supervision of Tasev (1968), have shown that it is possible to use blackcurrants as a major therapeutic agent for the treatment of distinct diseases, instead of the dosage of conventional drugs.”

Currant seed contains high levels of GLA, gamma-linolenic acid. The deep rich color of black currant is a strong antioxidant.


Nutritionally Speaking, Berry Smart Says:

Seeds of black currants are rich in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fresh fruit has an abundance of vitamins A, B and C and contains between 6 and 9% sugar. They are also full of antioxidants.
Berry Smart

Quotes on Black Currant from Dr. Richard St. Pierre Native Fruit Specialist University of Saskatchewan

“Historically, black currant fruit, roots, and leaves have had many medicinal uses. Black currant fruit is very rich in vitamin C. Black currant juice, tea and extracts have been used to treat sore throats (quinsy). Consequently, the name “squinancy berry” was adopted in Great Britain.

The leaves and buds of European black currants have been used as an anti-inflammatory drug. Various North American native tribes used the roots of the native black currant to treat many conditions including intestinal worms, kidney problems, and uterine disorders. The fruit of one species was used a mild laxative, while early settlers used root infusions to treat dysentery in cattle and fevers in people.

Oils extracted from leaf and flower buds of black currants have been used in cosmetic creams, lotions, and perfumes. Black currant seed is considered to be a potential source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for the treatment of asthma, premenstrual syndrome, skin conditions, and arthritis.

Black currant has exceptional nutritional value. Seeds are rich in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fresh fruit has an abundance of vitamins A, B and C and contain between 6 and 9% sugar.”

Black Currants are believed to prevent Alzheimer's. Click this link to see an article about Black Currants and Alzheimers.

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) (Excerpts from St. Pierre, 1993, Research Scientist and Director Native Fruit Development Program, University of Saskatchewan)

Here is Some History….

Chokecherry was one of the most important plants used by the Plains Cree and Blackfoot. Just like saskatoons, dried chokecherries were ground with stones and used in soups, stews, and pemmican. The period during which the chokecherry was in fruit was referred to as “black-cherry-moon’. The Shuswap Indians mixed the fruit with bear grease to make colorful paint for pictographs. Canadian west coast natives ate chokecherry dried fruit with salmon or salmon eggs. The bark was boiled along with other ingredients to produce a remedy for diarrhea. A strong, black, astringent tea was made from boiled twigs and used to relieve fevers. Dried roots were chewed and placed on wounds to stop bleeding. Teas were made from the bark or roots, and used to treat coughing, malaria, stomachaches, tuberculosis and intestinal worms. Such teas were also used as sedatives and appetite stimulants. The fruit was used to treat canker sores, ulcers, and abscesses.

Wood of the chokecherry was used for tipi construction, bows and arrows, skewers, diggings sticks, pipe stems and fire tongs. Navajo Indians thought of the chokecherry as a sacred plant and used its wood to make prayer sticks.

The chokecherry was also utilized by European settlers in North America. Parts of the chokecherry were the basis of popular home medications. Teas made from the bark have long been used as a sedative, and to alleviate coughs. Extracts of the berries and bark have been used as a flavoring agent for cough and cold preparations. Wild cherry bark was an officially recognized pharmaceutical from 1800 – 1975.


Nutritionally Speaking, Berry Smart Says:

A Ribes (Currant) renaissance is underway in North America! Black currants, highly toted for nutraceutical properties have vitamin C content four times higher than citrus, potassium two to three times more than most fruit and 30 - 40 types of bioflavonoids; much more than most fruits. Consumption of Black currant nectar has shown to benefit the heart and circulatory system, kidney function, liver function and the digestive system.
Berry Smart Drinking

Black Currants May Help Thwart Alzheimer's

MONDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) — Compounds in black currants may help protect against Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the current issue of Chemistry & Industry magazine.
Researchers found that these compounds — anthocyanins and polyphenolics — had a strong protective effect in cultured neuronal cells. Darker black currants contain more anthocyanins and are likely to be more potent.

"These compounds also work in hippocampal cells taken straight from the brain," researcher James Joseph of Tufts University said in a prepared statement. He said these protective effects will likely be reproduced in the human body and that these compounds may prevent or significantly delay the onset of Alzheimer's.

While previous research found that compounds in black currants acted as antioxidants, this is the first study to demonstrate that they may help protect brain cells. Exactly how they do this remains unclear, the study said.

"We have evidence that the compounds protect against Alzheimer's by influencing the early gene expression in learning and memory, which influences cell signaling pathways that help neuronal cells communicate with each other," Joseph said.

- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., news release, Jan. 23, 2006

Berries 'Help Prevent Dementia'

British blackcurrants are said to be especially rich in anti-oxidants

Compounds in the common British blackcurrant could help prevent Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.
A study shows blackcurrants and their US cousins, boysenberries, are full of potentially beneficial anti-oxidant compounds.

Research in the Journal of Science Food and Agriculture found these compounds could block the cell damage which leads to Alzheimer's disease.

The New Zealand team said the berries could prevent but not cure dementia.

Cancer and ageing

Alzheimer's disease is thought to be caused by the buildup of deposits of a protein in the brain.

These amyloid plaques are associated with damage to brain cells, which are eventually killed off.

It is this damage - known as oxidative stress - which the anti-oxidant compounds in the berries appears to combat.

The berries contain a cocktail of chemical compounds including anthocyanins - which cause the deep colour in blue and purple fruits - and polyphenolics - which can be found in red wine and chocolate.

Dilip Ghosh of the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand tested the compounds on cultured human brain cancer cells.

'Confident'

They demonstrated in a test tube their ability to protect against the effects of oxidative stress - in this case caused by adding the chemical hydrogen peroxide to the culture.

Oxidative stress is an important cause of brain degeneration as well as cancer and ageing.

The researchers said: "The extracts of boysenberry and blackcurrant containing anthocyanins and phenolic compounds displayed significant inhibition against the oxidative challenge of hydrogen peroxide."

This can decrease the rate at which cells mutate and therefore give protection against age-related diseases, they added.

The results demonstrate that a specific fraction of blackcurrant is particularly effective.
Dr Susanne Sorensen
Alzheimer's Society

Fellow researcher James Joseph of Tufts University said the effect was likely to be the same in humans.

He told Chemistry and Industry magazine: "I am confident that the Alzheimer's protective effect we've seen will bear out in live humans.

"Diet will never be able to cure Alzheimer's but could prevent it or at least delay its onset."

Head of research at charity Alzheimer's Society Dr Susanne Sorensen said the study results helped to explain evidence that berries have a protective effect against a range of diseases.

She said: "The results demonstrate that a specific fraction of blackcurrant is particularly effective in this respect.

"However, the results cannot readily be transferred from this experimental system of cultures of well characterised tumour cell lines to neurons nor to complete brains."