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A certain cherry could promote brain health.

A certain cherry could promote brain health.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 795,000 people in the United States suffer from a stroke every year. Depending on its severity – and how soon it is treated – this event can significantly impair a person's motor skills and cognitive ability. Strokes are closely linked to heart disease and hypertension, as they are caused by blockages that prevent the flow of blood – and therefore oxygen – to parts of the brain.

Because strokes can be so detrimental to brain health, researchers are constantly evaluating relevant risk factors to learn how people may protect themselves from such an event. Recently, scientists from the University of Michigan Cardioprotection Research Laboratory discovered that a particular type of cherry could address this issue. – particularly for people with diabetes and heart disease.

ScienceDaily reports that certain drugs used to manage metabolic syndrome – which can lead to diabetes and heart disease – may actually put some patients at greater risk of a stroke. The scientists sought to find out if Montmorency tart cherries activated specific receptors in bodily tissues and could produce the same benefits of the medication without the side effects.

By using an animal model, they found that eating tart cherries could reduce blood pressure and ultimately promote brain health for mice at risk for stroke.

"It turns out that the cherries did have a positive effect even when combined with the medication," lead researcher Dr.  E. Mitchell Seymour said.

This result could be due to a type of antioxidant – anthocyanin – that lends the fruit its rich color.

Another natural brain enhancer known for its striking hue is curcumin – the bioactive ingredient in turmeric. Research has shown that this compound may slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease and enhance overall health among middle-aged individuals.

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