Cherries are small, round, deep red stone fruit that are typically in season from June to July. Their size and flavour can vary depending on the variety (there are hundreds!), but they usually fall into one of two categories: sweet or tart (sour). Sweet cherries are usually eaten as they come, while tart cherries are used more in cooking. All cherries have a stone in the middle which must be removed before eating or cooking.
One cup of this tasty summer delight contains 90 calories and it’s a great source of fiber, protein, and vitamin A and C! Bursting with vitamins and antioxidants, there are many reasons why cherries are healthy. Let’s find out more!
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHERRIES
- Reduce Inflammation
Antioxidants are vital for good health as they protect our cells from damage caused by oxidants, or free radicals. Cherries’ abundant supply of antioxidants may have anti-inflammatory effects and have been linked to reduced levels of nitric oxide — a compound associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Help improve Hearth Health
Research by the British Journal of Nutrition found that cherry juice may help reduce blood pressure and is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Cherries are rich in nutrients and compounds that are known to promote heart health, including potassium and polyphenol antioxidants. Potassium, in particular, is needed to maintain a regular heartbeat and helps remove excess sodium from your body, regulating your blood pressure.
- Help improve Sleep
Tart cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin, which is very important in the regulation of our sleep cycles. In fact, melatonin is responsible for the regulation of the body’s internal clock. Research by the European Journal of Nutrition found that tart cherry juice is beneficial in improving sleep both in quality and duration, and may be of benefit to those who have disturbed sleep. Have a glass of cherry juice in the morning and in the evening and it will help you get a good night’s sleep!
- Packed with Nutrients
All varieties of cherries are highly nutritious and packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. For example, cherries are high in Vitamin C, essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and skin. They are also a good source of fiber, which helps keep your digestive system healthy and promoting bowel regularity.
- Lower the risk of Gout Attacks
There has been some research into the effects of cherry juice on gout. For example, one study demonstrated that consuming cherries and cherry juice over a two-day period is associated with a lower risk of gout attacks. That’s because cherries help inhibit oxidative stress and decrease inflammation by suppressing inflammatory proteins, which can help reduce symptoms related to arthritis. Plus, they can decrease uric acid levels in your body, making them especially beneficial for those with gout.
- Speed up Recovery after Exercise
Research shows that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in cherries may help relieve exercise-induced muscle pain, damage, and inflammation. For example, a study in 20 active women noted that those who drank 60 ml of tart cherry juice twice daily for 8 days recovered quicker and had less muscle damage and soreness after completing repeated sprint exercises, compared to the placebo group.
Plus, research by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that drinking tart cherry juice for seven days before and during a strenuous running event minimised post-run muscle pain.
Cherries can be used in many ways, in both sweet and savoury recipes. Add this nutritious and absolutely delicious ingredient in your kitchen!