High amounts of antioxidants called anthocyanins are the key to cherries' pain-fighting power. In a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, participants who ate 45 Bing cherries a day for 28 days reduced their inflammation levels significantly. And a Johns Hopkins study of rats given cherry anthocyanins hinted that anthocyanins might also protect against arthritis pain. Unpublished preliminary data from the Baylor Research Institute in Dallas further showed that a tart-cherry pill reduced pain and improved function in more than 50 percent of osteoarthritis patients over an eight-week period. A cherry-juice drink likewise reduced symptoms of muscle damage among exercising men in a University of Vermont study: Their pain scores dropped significantly compared with the scores of those who did not drink the juice. Pain-calming anthocyanins are also found in blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
Recipe: Curried Chicken Salad With Cherries, Mango and Pecans
by Monica Bhide
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and sliced
1 small ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 small red onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans
1. In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise and the curry powder.
2. Fold in the chicken, cherries, mango, onion and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Sprinkle with the pecans and serve.
Nutrients per serving: 258 calories, 11g protein, 13g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 20g fat, 32mg cholesterol, 382mg sodium