What The Health?
10 Surprising Health Benefits of Cherries
Call us biased, but cherries truly are a superfood. Not only are they delicious, but they also provide a range of other benefits that you may not know about.
Vitamins and Nutrients
Cherries are well known for their nutritional benefits, being a good source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folate.
Packed with Antioxidants
Cherries have a high anthocyanin content, which is what produces their dark color. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that protect the body’s cells against free radicals, which cause oxidative damage.
Cherries boast a high concentration of polyphenols, which help to fight cellular damage and reduce inflammation. Inflammation can be tied to a huge number of health conditions including arthritis, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Studies have shown that eating three servings of cherries over a two-day period reduced the risk of gout attacks by around 35%, which was then increased to around 75% when combined with Allopurinol, a prescription gout medication.
A study in 2013 showed a link between cherry intake and arthritis relief where participants drank two 8oz bottles of tart cherry juice, equivalent to 1/2lb of cherries per bottle in this study, per day for 6 weeks. The results of the study showed that the participants reported a significant improvement in their pain levels, stiffness, and physical function.
Studies have shown that athletes taking cherry products experience faster muscle recovery, decreased exercise-induced muscle soreness, as well as preventing strength loss in elite athletes. Some studies have even suggested that cherries can enhance exercise performance, which is most likely related to their effect on exercise recovery.
Multiple studies have been undertaken to show the effects of cherries on sleep quality. One in particular found that people drinking cherry juice showed significant increases in melatonin levels, sleep duration, and quality of sleep.
Beneficial for Weight Loss
In addition to being a good low-calorie snack (less than 100 calories per serving), cherries are full of minerals that help to improve your metabolism. They also include fiber, which is both an essential part of healthy bowel function and slower digestion to keep you from feeling hungry.
Supports Blood Pressure
In addition to the above benefits, cherries also contain a high amount of potassium and phenolic acids. These help your body to remove excess sodium, which is a major contributor to hypertension.
Easy Diet Integration
Out of all availably beneficial foods, cherries are certainly one of the easiest to incorporate into our diets! When in season, fresh cherries are an excellent, healthy snack on their own or a well-suited ingredient for making sauces and baked treats.
GET IT FROM THE SOURCE
Among agri-food products, sweet cherries are widely described for their nutritional properties and the beneficial effects of their compounds on human health. Indeed, polyphenols contained in cherries, such as flavonoids and anthocyanins, are endowed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Several clinical studies have demonstrated that cherry fruit or cherry juice consumption may prevent or reduce inflammation related to muscle damage caused by intensive strength exercise and also may accelerate the recovery following strenuous physical activity.