Cherries are delicious and loved by many. They are not just tasty but also have beneficial natural compounds. They are a rich source of vitamins and minerals as well.
Cherries are used in cakes, puddings, biscuits, and other confectionery items. They can be added to fruit salads, tarts, yogurt, and even mocktails. There are two types of cherries: tart and sweet cherries, or Prunus cerasus L. and Prunus avium L. respectively. Their colors may vary from yellow to deep red.
Health Benefits of Cherries
Cherries contain various nutrients and active plant compounds known to be beneficial for health. Consuming cherries may improve athletic performance and reduce post-workout muscle damage and soreness.
They might help increase metabolism and immune function. Seven health benefits of cherries are as follows:
1) Rich in Antioxidants
Cherries have various plant compounds that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress and premature aging. Many chronic diseases can also be prevented with the consumption of antioxidants. Beta carotene and Vitamin C are the most well-known antioxidants present in cherries.
2) Rich in Anti-Inflammatory Compounds
Cherries contain carotenoid compounds known for anti-inflammatory activities. These compounds may protect against many chronic ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.
They're also high in polyphenols, a type of of plant chemical that helps fight cellular damage, reduce inflammation, and promote well-being.
3) Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
A single cup of cherries can provide about 97 calories. They're rich in vitamin C, manganese, copper and potassium.
Vitamin C is essential for the immune system and good skin health, while potassium is required for muscle contraction, nerve conduction, and blood pressure regulation. Cherries contain small amounts of Vitamin K as well.
4) May Improve Sleep Quality
A study on older people suffering from insomonia found tart cherries to be beneficial in improving sleep quality when taken before bed.
Another study concluded that cherry concentrate increased melatonin production and improved sleep duration. Melatonin is a substance that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. However, more studies are required to better understand how the consumption of cherries and cherry products benefit sleep.
5) May Prevent Heart Disease
Cherries are rich in polyphenol antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavonols, and catechins which are known to improve heart health.
A study of 84,158 people found that higher intakes of polyphenols were associated with a significantly decreased risk of heart disease. Potassium in cherries also helps protect the heart and control hypertension.
6) Can Help in Gout and Arthritis
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals that can lead to swelling, inflammation, and pain in the joints.
Studies have found that sweet cherries can lower the levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein and also significantly reduce the level of uric acid, which causes gout.
People showed fewer gout attacks when they consumed cherries regularly. Gout medications have been found to work more effectively when consumed along with the fruit.
7) Cherries are Versatile
As they're very delicious, cherries can be added to a plethora of foods and preparations.
They can be paired with chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and salted almonds for a delicious homemade trail mix or added to oats or chia puddings to make them tastier.
Cherries can also be consumed in raw form, pitted, or sliced in fruit salads as well. They are commonly used in baked products, like cakes, pies, and tarts. Frozen cherries are used in smoothies and with ice cream.
Cheery sauce can be used with roasted meat, while cherry juice can be added to mocktails to add a tangy flavor.
Cherries are highly nutritious and have many health benefits. They contain powerful plant compounds that may help reduce inflammation. Consuming them regularly may improve sleep, heart health, and overall health.
Cherries may benefit those with arthritis and gout, as they're packed with polyphenol antioxidants, which protect against oxidative free radicals. They are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and other nutrients which are required to maintain immunity and other bodily functions.
This fruit is a good source of fiber, which helps keep the digestive system healthy and promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Cherries can be used in both sweet and savory recipes, as they are versatile and tasty.