Eating cherries could cut gout risk

Cherries have proven to be one of the healthiest foods for senior living, and new research suggests they may have more benefits than originally thought. Scientists say that the anti-inflammatory qualities of the popular fruit may help fight pain and swelling caused by gout and other forms of arthritis.

The new study comes out of Boston University and looked at more than 633 subjects, all of whom suffered from gout. They noticed that those who ate about 30 cherries over the course of the two days before a gout flare up were about 35 percent less likely to have another. Experts hypothesize that the vitamin C, coupled with the significant anti-inflammatory power of cherries, could be responsible for the benefits.

"Anthocyanins are an antioxidant pigment found in cherries and other red and purple fruits and vegetables," researcher Dr. Daniel Solomon said in an editorial. "They seem to stabilize the free radical molecules responsible for causing inflammation and cell and tissue damage."

The results build on previous research touting the substantial benefits offered by cherries, many of which extend beyond arthritis. In particular, scientists have found tart cherries can reduce certain risk factors associated with heart disease as well.

Some of the most compelling evidence of the heart healthy qualities of cherries comes from a study out of the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center. Researchers found that rats that followed a high fat diet that included cherry powder mixed in did not gain as much weight as subjects who did not have any cherry powder. When the scientists looked at the subjects' blood they also noticed lower levels of signs that are indicative of heart disease and diabetes.