Cherries have long been a favorite fruit in the States where over 370 million pounds of the sweet treats are grown each year. Sadly they have a very short peak season. Come September, the ruby beauties will be hard to come by unless you’ve frozen some to last you longer. If you enjoy cherries as much as I do, now is the perfect time to enjoy a bowl and reap the benefits.
5 Reasons to Eat ‘Em Sweet!
Tart cherry juices and powders have long been touted for their health benefits. But sweet cherries pack a similar punch. Read on and then get some!
- Sweet cherries contain antioxidants including anthocyanins, cyanidin, and quercetin, some of the most potent of all antioxidants. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that takes place in our bodies that can produce free radicals, which ultimately damage healthy cells. Antioxidants consumed as part of a healthy diet are required for good health, beginning at the cellular level.
- They contain cancer-preventative compounds. Sweet cherries contain fiber, Vitamin C, carotenoids and anthocyanins, each of which can play a role in cancer prevention.
- They can lower your risk of Gout and associated pain. In a study of over 600 Gout sufferers, those who ate just a 1/2 cup of sweet cherries a day (about 10 cherries) had a 35% lower risk of a subsequent attack. Gout occurs when the metabolic processes that control the amount of uric acid in the blood fail to do their job. The stiffness and swelling are a result of the excess uric acid crystals in joints. Cherries actually reduce the levels of uric acid in the blood.
- They reduce inflammation and can relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis. Cherries have among the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food. Compounds in the fruit inhibit inflammatory pathways and help relieve pain from osteoarthritis.
- They help you get your ZZZ’s. Cherries contain melatonin, an antioxidant that plays a vital role in sleep and body regeneration. Consuming cherries not only helps increase your melatonin levels, but may also improve time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency.