Montmorency tart cherries may play a role in improving gut health, suggests a first-of-its kind human trial of nine adults combined with a parallel laboratory study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
In the human trial, these nine healthy adults, 23-30 years old, drank 8 ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice (from concentrate) daily for five days.
These individuals were non-smokers and had not taken antibiotics (which can affect the microbiome) in the 12 weeks prior and during the study.
Scientists found that Montmorency tart cherries helped to positively impact the gut microbiome – a collection of trillions of bacteria and other microbes that live in the intestinal tract.
The microbiome has been the focus of multiple studies in recent years due to its potential role in maintaining digestive health, as well as its impact on immunity, heart health, blood sugar control, weight management and even brain health.
The gut microbiome holds great promise, especially related to personalized nutrition, although the research is still evolving and larger, long-term human intervention studies are needed.
However, the new study does suggest that Montmorency tart cherries can be added to the list of gut-friendly foods.
While previous studies on Montmorency tart cherries have ranged from heart health and exercise recovery to sleep, this is the first study to explore the potential gut health benefits.
The researchers speculate that it may be due to the polyphenols (anthocyanins and other flavonoids) in Montmorency tart cherries, the varietal of tart cherries grown in the U.S. Polyphenols in plant-based foods are broken down by microbes to stimulate growth of good bacteria.
“Montmorency tart cherries were a logical food to study due to their unique composition of polyphenols, including chlorogenic acids,” said principal investigator Franck Carbonero, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Food Science at the University of Arkansas.
“Our results suggest that the unique polyphenol mixture in tart cherries may help positively shape the gut microbiome, which could potentially have far-reaching health implications.”
Source: WEBER SHANDWICK CHICAGO.