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Cherries Are Better Than Blueberries
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Last updated June 11, 2018 (originally published August 14, 2014)

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist






Blueberries have become something of a darling among
nutritionists. In recent years, we have heard the startling
news that blueberries help reduce erectile dysfunction in
men, help
lower blood sugar levels  and even stave off
Alzheimer's disease.  Left behind in all this brouhaha is the
role that
cherries play in improving your vascular, sexual and
arterial health.
But in the heavyweight battle between
blueberries and cherries, which one wins?


Here is what I know. I eat both blueberries and cherries.
When I eat an abundance of cherries, something rather
remarkable occurs.  My sexual libido goes through the roof.
When I eat blueberries - not so much.

I've also noticed that my weight falls much more easily when
I eat cherries, as I do regularly especially during the summer
months.

So I set out to find what scientific evidence exists that would
explain what my own body has told me, that cherries are
good for your love life and your body weight. In fact, I
strongly suspected that cherries outperform blueberries in
both these areas. And, it turns out, my hunch was right.


First, Let's Look at the Case for Blueberries and Why They
Work to Improve Your Love Life

The year 2016 was like a coming out party for blueberries.
That was the year that Harvard and University of East Anglia
scientists published a now famous article on blueberries
effects on erectile dysfunction.  

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, was massive and long term. It covered 50,000
men for 30 years, matching their dietary habits with their
erectile dysfunction profiles.

Over the 30-year period of the study, 33% of the men
developed erectile dysfunction.  But a certain group of men
had far lower rates of erectile dysfunction, in fact about
10% less.

These fortunate men had one thing in common --they ate
more fruits containing three types of flavonoids, called
anthocyanins, flavones and flavanones.

The most intriguing of these flavoids are anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins are compounds that act both as antioxidants
and as anti-inflammatories. As the study noted,  
anthocyanins are found in "blueberries, cherries,
blackberries, radishes and blackcurrants, and help give red
wine its colour".

As a 2016 study from the University of Maine has pointed
out, anthocyanins are the distinctive and most abundant
class of phenolic compounds found in blueberries.

So, if anthocyanins are the compounds believed to be
responsible for blueberries power to improve sexual
function, and cherries also have these anthocyanins, why
wouldn't cherries also be expected to improve sexual
function?


May the Best Anthocyanin Win






























Anthocyanins themselves come in many different varieties.  
The anthocyanins that are abundant in cherries are different
from the anthocyanins abundant in blueberries.


Not all anthocyanins are created equal. Some types of
anthocyanins are great at reducing your blood pressure
while others are better at reducing blood sugar but do
nothing to help you lower blood pressure, some are good at
lowering inflammation or body fat, while others are not.
Each anthocyanin has a specific strength.


Cherries are rich in an anthocyanin called
"cyanidin-3-O-
rutinoside
". The amount of this anthocyanin you'll find in
cherries depend on the type of cherry you consume. One
2009  study from Michigan State University found that the
sweet cherry known as Kordia" (also known as "Attika")
showed the highest cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside content at 185
mg/100 g fresh weight.

One of the ways that scientists measure a micronutrient's
ability to slow the aging process is to measure its
effectiveness at neutralizes oxygen free radicals. One such
damaging substance is peroxide, no different from the
oxygen peroxide you use to bleach hair or clean up your
wounds.

The free radicals damage your DNA and can trigger cancer
and aging. They also damage your arteries when they collide
with your artery walls, causing inflammation that can lead to
both heart disease and sexual dysfunction, because the
inflamed arteries can't carry blood to your groin. If you are a
man, this means that you would not be able to achieve an
erection. And if you are a woman, it would mean that you
would not have as much sensation in your genitals so you
will not experience as much physical arousal.

It turns out that cherries are powerful scavengers of these
damaging free radicals.

At concentrations of 250 mcg/ml, these Kordia cherries, as
well as other varieties such as  "Regina", "Glacier" and
"Skeena" sweet cherries were able to inhibit/neutralize  
peroxide by 89%, 80%, 80% and 70% of lipid peroxidation
(LPO) inhibition, whereas extracts of "Balaton" and
"Montmorency" were in the range of 38 to 58% at 250
microg/mL.


Blueberries are rich in different types of anthocyanins. But
they are different from the anthocyanins in cherries.
Blueberries contain 400 to 500 mg/100 g of anthocyanins
that consist mainly of pelargonidin, cyanidin, delphinidin,
petunidin, peonidin, and malvidin, not the rutinosides
(cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside ) that predominate in cherries.


The Inflammation That Triggers the Damage to Arteries
Often Starts in the Fat of Your Body and Cherries Reduce
That Fat




The inflammation that is the pre-condition for so many
chronic diseases and problems --heart disease, cancer,
stroke and more -- is caused by a poor diet, sedentary
lifestyle and the fat cells themselves.

Fat, as we have written before, is not an inert substance just
hanging on your muscles. Fat is an active compound that
sends hormones and signals to many different biological
pathways in your body. One such pathway starts an
inflammatory cascade of reactions.

The more fat you have, especially around your middle, the
more disruptive hormonal signals are sent, and the more
chronic diseases you develop. This is why
abdominal fat has
such a strong link to your risk for heart disease.

What does this have to do with cherries? Well, studies have
linked blueberries with many positive health outcomes --
lower rates of cholesterol, blood sugar, cognitive decline and
more. But, with the exception of
one study, one thing that
has not been linked to blueberries is reduction in body fat
and waist circumference.

Cherries, on the other hand, have been strongly linked with
reductions in belly fat. A 2008 study of obese rats found that
feeding them a diet enriched in tart cherries
resulted in a
54% body fat ratio compared with 63% for rats fed a
Western diet. Moreover, most of the 9% differential in extra
fat loss occurred around the belly.


We would need to see human studies to definitively apply
these results to us but there is no clear reason to believe
that the cherry anthocyanins are behaving differently in our
bodies than they do in these lab animals.
































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