Cherries are incredibly delicious fruits that can be enjoyed in various ways. There are many varieties of cherries, but the most common ones are sweet and tart.
Cherries can comfortably be paired with many foods. This makes them easy to add to your diet. In the market and shop outlets, cherries are found in the form of cherry juice, cherry powder, and also as dried cherries. Common ways of incorporating cherries into your routine diet include eating them fresh as they are, making a cherry barbecue sauce at home and mix it with meat, or using dried cherries with baked goods. It does not matter how you will want to enjoy these fruits, but one sure thing is that they will benefit and improve your health significantly. How can they help keep you healthy? Keep reading to find out how.
Consumption of cherries has been associated with several health benefits. This is mainly due to their rich nutritional profile and high content of powerful compounds. Here are some of the benefits of cherries.
May Help Improve Heart Health
Heart disease has gained global concern currently. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of world fatalities. Modifying your lifestyle, such as engaging in regular exercise, may help prevent the disease. Dietary modification like avoiding trans fats may also help reduce the risk of heart disease. In your diet, you may also want to include fruits likes cherries and other nutrient-dense foods. Evidence suggests that increasing your intake of fruits may greatly help protect your heart. In this context, cherries are particularly important because they contain nutrient and powerful plant compounds that support heart health. Specifically, cherries contain potassium and polyphenol antioxidants.
In just 154 g of sweet cherries, there is about 10% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of potassium. Apart from aiding the elimination of excess sodium in the body, potassium helps maintain the proper functioning and beating of the heart. Potassium also helps keep your blood pressure in check. Furthermore, cherries are loaded with polyphenol antioxidants, which may protect your heart from cellular damage caused by free radicals and lower inflammation. These polyphenol antioxidants include catechins, flavonols, and anthocyanins.
Cherries are Loaded with Beneficial Nutrients
The two main types of commercially sold cherries are tart cherries (Prunus cerasus L) and sweet cherries (Prunus avium L). Most of them differ in color ranging from yellow to deep black, red, and flavor. Regardless of the variety you choose, cherries will still pack various vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Database in the Food Data Central of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that just 154 g of sweet cherries provides 97 calories, 2 g of protein, 25 g of carbs, 3 g of fiber, 18% of the RDI for vitamin C, 10% of the RDI for potassium, 5% of the RDI for copper, and 5% of the RDI for manganese.
These nutrients, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, in particular, may help improve your heart health. Vitamin C is vital in keeping your skin glowing and your immune system at its top, while magnesium is essential for the regulation of blood pressure, improved nerve function, and contraction of muscles. The fiber contained in cherries also acts as food for good gut bacteria and improves bowel movement.
Cherries May Help Reduce Inflammation and Boost Your Immunity
Having a strong and healthy immune system is important for the prevention of various illnesses. Cherries contain powerful plant compounds which are believed to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. With their high antioxidant content, cherries may help reduce oxidative stress. Your body gets into the state of oxidative stress when free radicals accumulate and outnumber antioxidants. Oxidative stress can lead to chronic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. Polyphenol antioxidants, in particular, can reduce inflammation, combat cellular damages, prevent certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and premature aging. Other arsenals for the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries include vitamin C and bate-carotene.
May Help Improve Physical Performance and Recovery
Strenuous exercise can cause muscle soreness and cramping. Recovery is important so that you can continue working out. Studies suggest that cherries’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce pain, damage, and inflammation that occur due to exercise. While all varieties of cherries may help keep you healthy, tart cherries are thought to be more important than other varieties. This particular variety effectively promotes muscle recovery, decreases pain related to exercise, and improves strength in marathon runners. One study suggests that consuming 60 ml tart cherry juice twice a day may promote quick recovery and reduce muscular damages in sprint exercise.
May Improve Arthritis and Gout
Arthritis is the inflammation and stiffening of weight-bearing joints, while gout is a type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the joints. Since cherries possess anti-inflammatory properties, they may significantly reduce the symptoms of arthritis and gout. Studies indicate that cherries inhibit inflammation and combat oxidative stress by interfering with the action of inflammatory proteins. This way, it reduces swelling, stiffening, and pain, which are the main symptoms of arthritis. Cherries may also reduce mediators of inflammation like C-reactive proteins (CRP) and reduce uric acid.
May Reduce Insomnia
Poor sleep quality and disturbed sleep patterns can negatively impact your health and can lead to poor immunity. It may help to eat or drink the juice of tart cherries to improve and promote sleep. The secret behind cherries promoting sleep is partly due to the high content of plant compounds. They also contain melatonin which regulates and maintains your circadian rhythm.
Cherries are small fruits that have varied colors and tastes. They are of many varieties, but majorly the common varieties are two, that is, tart and sweet cherries. Evidence indicates that tart cherries have more health benefits than sweet cherries. All the same, cherries are highly nutritious and contain vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they contain powerful plant compounds like flavonols, anthocyanins, and polyphenol antioxidants. With such content of antioxidants, cherries may improve sleep quality and prevent inflammation.