Cherries are delicious, beautiful, and in season now! National Cherry Day is on July 16th in the UK. Eat this superfruit before its short growing season comes to an end.
When you eat cherries, you enjoy much more than just their amazing taste. They’re packed with antioxidants and offer many health benefits, including help with insomnia, joint pain and belly fat. Cherries could be just what the doctor ordered.
Here are 11 good reasons to start eating this powerfood today!
11 Health Benefits of Cherries
1. Protection from Diabetes
Sweet cherries have a lower glycemic index of 22, lower than apricots (57), grapes (46), peaches (42), blueberries (40) or plums (39). This makes them a better choice of a fruit snack compared with many other fruits, especially for diabetics.
2. Helps You Sleep Better
Tossing and turning at night? Cherry juice to the rescue! Drink cherry juice 30 minutes after waking and 30 minutes before your evening meal. In a study, participants boosted their melatonin intake by following this routine. Cherries are a good source of melatonin.They have also been found to help with jet lag.
Note: there is a higher level of melatonin in tart cherries compared to sweet cherries.
“There’s no diet list I’ll follow that would rule out a cherry.” – Edgar A. Guest
3. Decreases Belly Fat
Tart cherries reduced belly fat in a study. Researchers found rats that were fed whole tart cherry powder, in a high fat diet, didn’t gain as much weight or build up as much body fat as rats that didn’t.
4. Helps Ward off Alzheimer’s
The Alzheimer’s Association includes cherries as one of the memory boosting foods because they are rich in antioxidants.
5. Reduces Risk of Stroke
Tart cherries provide cardiovascular benefits. The anthocyanins, which are the pigments giving tart cherries its red color, may activate PPAR which regulates genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism and thus, reduce risk factors for high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. – Research University of Michigan Health System.
6. Slows the Aging of Skin
Cherries have the highest antioxidant level of any fruit. Antioxidants help the body fight the free radicals that make us look old. Drinking one glass of tart cherry juice daily slows down the aging process, according to Scientists from the Michigan State University. Cherry juice is also recommended as an alternative treatment for other skin conditions.
7. Lowers Risk of Gout Attacks
Eating cherries lowers risk of gout attacks by 35 percent in a study with 633 gout patients, done by by Yuqing Zhang, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University. Gout patients who consumed cherries over a two-day period had a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks, compared to those who did not eat the cherries. “Our findings indicate that consuming cherries or cherry extract lowers the risk of gout attack, the gout flare risk continued to decrease with increasing cherry consumption, up to three servings over two days.” said Zhang.
8. Reduces Muscle Pain
A cup and a half of tart cherries or one cup of tart cherry juice can reduce muscle inflammation and soreness studies suggest. A group of marathon runners drank tart cherry juice twice daily for seven days before their race. The group who drank the cherry juice group experienced less muscle pain after the race than those who drank another fruit drink.
“My heart that was rapt away by the wild cherry blossoms — will it return to my body when they scatter?” - Kotomichi
9. Good for the Heart
Cherries are very high in potassium, which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension. The phytosterols in cherries help reduce bad cholesterol levels.
10. Helps with osteoarthritis relief
The pain and discomfort of swollen joints were reduced when tart cherry juice was consumed twice a day for three weeks in a study of twenty women ages 40 to 70 with inflammatory osteoarthritis.
11. Helps to Prevent Colon Cancer
Substances in tart cherries can reduce the formation of the carcinogenic chemicals that develop from the charring of hamburger. Researchers added tart cherries to ground beef patties. “The fat contents of the cherry patties were, as expected, lower than that of the control patties, whereas the moisture contents were greater. Cherry tissue will not only slow down the oxidation deterioration of meat lipids, but will also substantially reduce the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines.” – J. Ian Gray, PhD, Professor of Food Science at Michigan State.
Now you have many good reasons (11 to be exact!) reasons to eat cherries. I eat cherries every day when they’re in season.
Last year I was given a few big boxes of cherries, so I needed to get creative. I froze them, dried them and cooked some up, putting them in jars. I then created a few more yummy recipes that you can learn below.
Cherry Vegan Pudding: This raw cherry pudding is so easy to make and great for a hot summer day.
Chocolate Cherry Vegan Ice Cream: Can you think of a better combination than chocolate and cherries? The answer may be chocolate and cherry ice cream.
Note: All the recipes at Real Food For Life are white sugar free, gluten free and super healthy. Check out the other healthy Powerfoods that make these recipes so healthy, balanced and powerful.