We love, love, love cherries from the bottom of our hearts. So much, in fact, that we really agree that they are among our top 3 favorite fruits. They are so mouth-wateringly delicious, fresh and sweet that we have every reason to be as obsessed with them as we are. One of the best aspects of cherries is that they can be equally enjoyed raw or in the form of juice, sauce, tarts, salsa, pie and many more. The great news is that we are in full cherry season and we can enjoy these ripe fruit delicacies as we please.
Little do people know that, in addition to their irresistable taste and aroma, these tiny red bulbs of happiness conceal a wide range of health benefits. You will be delightfully surprised to find out that cherries aid in overcoming various types of disease and are so powerful that they can even help prevent cancer (!).
Instead of reaching for that bar of chocolate when you are in the mood for a sweet treat, consider grabbing a bowl of fresh cherries and enjoying all of their wonderful properties. Without further ado, here are the top 12 health benefits of cherries. Enjoy!
12 Health Benefits of Cherries
1. Prevent Cancer
First and foremost, we cannot talk about the health benefits of cherries without considering their power to protect you from developing cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research states that cherries are particularly great for preventing the development of colon cancer, thanks to their high levels of dietary fiber.
This is because dietary fibers do exactly what you may suppose they would: help you avoid becoming overweight (hence “dietary”). This is a very significant trait, as excess pounds have proven to be a key factor in developing numerous forms of cancer (seven, to be precise).
2. Relieve Arthritis Pain
Patients who suffer from arthritis known that the joint pain involved can become really unbearable. The good news for people who fall under this category is that cherries are blissfully loaded with anti-inflammatory properties that help reveal that searing pain in their joints. Studies show that especially tart cherry juice is effective when it comes to arthritis, so it is best that you consume it as often as possible if you find yourself in this situation.
Additionally, cherries also aid in combating a large series of other inflammatory conditions. According to the specialized website Medical Daily, “cherries have a high ORAC value, which helps lower circulating factors that cause inflammation, like C-reactive protein (CPR) produced by the liver).
3. Protect Your Heart
One of the most amazing health benefits of cherries is that they can protect your heart from cardiovascular disease. This means that regularly eating cherries can help you avoid a potentially fatal stroke. Studies show that sour cherries especially have a positive effect on your heart.
Dr. Joseph Mercola states in an article that “consuming tart cherries may activate PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activating receptors) in your body’s tissues, which help regulate genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism. This activation may help to lower your risk of heart disease, and research suggests eating cherries may provide similar heart benefits to prescription drugs called PPAR agonists”. The facts are pretty clear, cherries really can help you avoid heart problems.
4. Manage & Prevent Diabetes
Care2.com informs us that “sweet cherries have a lower glycemic index of 22, lower than apricots (57), grades (46), peaches (42), blueberries (40) or plums (39).” This means that patients suffering from diabetes should really consider incorporating more cherries into their diet.
Even more so, research proves that the anthocyanin antioxidant found in cherries greatly supports the production of insulin. This is the same antioxidant that gives cherries their bright red hue. If you or a loved one is a diabetes patient, snack on cherries often to manage the disease (or prevent it altogether, if it is the case).
5. Enjoy Antioxidants
In addition to anthocyanin, cherries are also rich in the cyanidin antioxidant. Tart cherries, in particular, are high in cyanidins that work wonders for the human body. Furthermore, one of the most powerful antioxidants that science knows of is actually found in sweet cherries: quercetin.
The high levels of antioxidants in cherries make them the ideal partner for battling disease and staying healthy. Thanks to these antioxidants, cherries provide all of the health benefits included on this list.
6. Relieve & Prevent Muscle Pain
We all know what it feels like to have muscle soreness after an intense workout at the gym. The following day you feel as if you had previously been run over by a truck and your entire body aches. Why not avoid the whole mess in the first place by enjoying a healthy a delicious fruit?
You heard us right, countless cases have proven that cherries can be exceptional for relieving and preventing muscle pain. The key is to drink sour / tart jerry juice before beginning your exercise session and your body will not experience as much strain and pain as usual.
7. Control Blood Pressure
As if all of these awesome health benefits were not enough, you should know that cherries also can help you control your blood pressure, especially the sweet variety.
This is all thanks to the fact that they are packed with potassium, an essential element for reducing blood pressure naturally. Potassium works great with calming the contrary affects that sodium has regarding blood pressure. This results in aiding hypertensive patients with their blood vessel problems.
8. Sleep Well
One of the greatest problems in modern day society, after stress, is insomnia. The latter is actually caused by the former and that is how more and more individuals find themselves having trouble getting a good night’s sleep. The fantastic news is that cherries are loaded with melatonin, the natural substance that your brain produces in order to rest well.
This means that cherries enhance your intake of melatonin so you won’t have to complain about insomnia anymore. If you eat cherries or drink roughly one glass of cherry juice an hour before you go to bed at night, you will likely enjoy deep, smooth and resting sleep.
9. Get Rid of Belly Fat
We really love it when we find a super food that helps us lose weight. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want to get rid of extra pounds by eating? Scientific studies show that cherries can, in fact, help you lose that belly fat you find oh so annoying. The best kind of cherries for this objective is tart or sour cherries.
Researchers have conducted experiments on rats in which the results were quite stunning. Make sure that you don’t rely on cherries alone for losing weight, though. Combine them with working out and you will truly see a difference. Take in more cherries and get rid of that belly fat!
10. Prevent Gout
Saying that gout is dreadfully painful would be a complete understatement. Gout attacks may seem like a nightmare come true for the person undergoing them, with horribly swollen toes and incredible pain. In order to avoid these gout attacks, you can eat cherries and enjoy bewildering results.
When we say bewildering, we mean it. According to the Huffington Post, “A 2012 study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism found that patients with gout who consumed cherries over a two-day period (yes, just two days!) showed a 35% lower risk of gout attacks compared to their fruit wary counterparts”. If that is not amazing, we don’t know what is.
11. Enhance Your Memory
Do you sometimes experience problems with your memory? No need to fear, cherries are here! Possibly one of the most ingenious health benefits of cherries is the power to enhance both your memory and motor skills. This is all owing to the anthocyanin antioxidant we were speaking about earlier regarding diabetes.
Yep, the same super hero antioxidant that helps you prevent and maintain diabetes is actually the same one that helps you out with your memory. Now that’s some food for thought, literally!
12. Healthy Snack
All in all, you have to admit that cherries act as an appetizing snack. You can have all of the potato chips or popcorn in the world and it still wouldn’t even come close to comparing to a handful of freshly washed ripe cherries. The great thing about cherries is that their two main varieties (sweet and sour) allow all sorts of individuals to enjoy them, according to their preferences. If you don’t have that much of a sweet tooth, you can juice some tart cherries for a refreshing drink.
If you love getting a sugar rush every now and then, snack on sweet cherries as much as you please. Besides being a super healthy snack, cherries add an incomparable flavor to pastries and even home cooked meals in the form of sauce. Honestly, our mouths have already started watering, so we are going to grab a bag of cherries and enjoy all of their excellent health benefits. How about you?
Tips on Buying and Storing Cherries
After reading the 12 health benefits of cherries, it’s time to buy some healthy fruit to increase your daily intake. Your food is only as good as the ingredients you buy, so spend some time choosing high-quality fruit and correctly storing them.
When picking healthy cherries, look at the stem and skin. The stem of cherries is a huge indication of its health, so if the stems are unbroken or rotted, the fruit will follow suit. Look at the condition of the fruit too. If it appears full of wrinkles and discolored, it’s likely the cherry isn’t fresh. Look at the colors because a bright red shade indicates it’s fresh and ready to eat.
There are different types of cherries, so bear in mind that sour cherries tend to be softer and more fragile so handle them with care. These work best in baked foods and fresh pies. They’re also smaller than sweet cherries so consider the size differences between sweet and sour versions.
After purchasing fresh, delicious cherries, it’s time to properly store them. As soon as you bring them home, put them straight into a refrigerator or they’ll lose their juice if you store them in warm conditions.
Some people are prone to washing them as soon as they bring them home, but we recommend holding off rinsing them until you’re just about to eat them. Alternatively, you can freeze the fruit if you want them to last longer. Store them in an airtight bag to keep them as fresh as possible.