The University of Tasmania (UTAS), Tasmania cherry grower-shippers Reid Fruits and Essential Oils Tasmania are collaborating on new trials to look into the health benefits of cherries.
Clinical trials into the anti-inflammatory properties of sweet cherries are due to being later this year.
"Anecdotal evidence suggests that consumption of cherries can alleviate issues relating to inflammation, such as gout," said Melanie Blackhall, from UTAS’ Faculty of Health. "However, limited hard scientific evidence exists, particularly in relation to sweet cherries."
Preliminary research has found certain varieties of cherries hold high levels of anthocyanins, a bioactive compound is being linked to its ability to impact disease.
"Inflammation and the consequences of inflammatory disease are a major health issue for Australia and other Western countries," Blackhall said. "Obesity, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases all increase inflammation in the body.
"As such, markers or indicators of inflammation have become one of the major predictors in the development and progression of disease.
"As lifestyle diseases become more prevalent there is growing evidence and support for functional foods, whereby the food provides demonstrated benefit in reducing the risk of chronic disease."