They can help you reach a ripe old age, say experts.

Eating a portion of sour cherries every day can help combat heart disease, strokes and diabetes, a scientific study has revealed.

Researchers found that small amounts of tart red cherries can significantly lower blood cholesterol and sugar levels in the body.

Cherries are already known to be rich in antioxidants, which have many health-promoting properties, but the latest research suggests the benefits may go even further.

Scientists found they also contain compounds known as anthocyanins, which give them their red colour and have anti-inflammatory and other beneficial properties.

In a series of studies, rats fed a diet of cherries experienced lower cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar and less fat storage in the liver.

Researchers at the University of Michigan used powder derived from the tart locally grown Montmorency cherries, which are sold dried, frozen or in juice form.

While the study is yet to be tried on humans, scientists believe regular portions of the fruit can have a big impact on tackling metabolic syndrome - a combination of medical disorders which increases the risk or heart disease and diabetes.

The syndrome becoming increasingly common among adults in their 30's and is linked to obesity and poor diet. The study's co-author, Dr Steven Bolling said: "Rats fed tart cherries as part of their diet had reduced markers of metabolic syndrome."

"Lifestyle changes have been shown to lower the odds of developing metabolic syndrome. But there is tremendous interest in studying the impact of particular foods."

Dr Bolling, a cardiac surgeon  added: "The growing body of knowledge is encouraging. The data from whole tart cherries suggests a correlation between anthocyanin intake and reductions in cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors."

Last night nutritionist Carina Norris said the study was exciting but warned that superfoods are not a cure-all - they should be used as part of a balanced diet.


Leave a comment