7 Health Benefits of Cherries – Top Benefits of Cherries from Dietitians
Not only are cherries a delicious summer staple, but this stone fruit packs an incredible nutrient-dense punch. Although available year-round, cherries are harvested in the summer, no matter where they come from. In the United States, cherries grow primarily in seven states: Michigan, Utah, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and New York.
Although you may only be familiar with one variety of cherries, there are actually several different types of cherries that all offer impressive health benefits. The two most popular cherries are sweet and tart: the most common type of sweet cherry in the United States is the Bing cherry, and the most common tart variety is the Montmorency cherry. As different as their tastes are, both are rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, anthocyanins and vitamin C.
If you want to incorporate more of this antioxidant-rich fruit into your diet, it’s important to note that while fresh and frozen cherries contain many beneficial properties, dried varieties and cherry juice often contain added sugar, so look for unsweetened options. Registered Dietitians from the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Nutrition Lab spoke with experts at Northwest Cherry Growers to give you an overview of all the health benefits of cherries you need to know, including how many cherries you should be eating. per day.
Cherry Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup pitted (154g)
- Calories: 97
- Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 0mg
- Total carbohydrates: 25g
- Dietary fibre: 3g
- Vitamin C: 11mg
- Potassium: 342mg
- Manganese: 0.1mg
- Vitamin K: 3.2mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.1mg
- Magnesium: 16.9mg
Health Benefits of Cherries
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Some experts believe that the darker the color of a fruit, the higher the level of antioxidants. Cherries fall into this category; they get their dark red color from the high levels of anthocyanins they contain. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that have many health benefits, including being associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, among others. “Cherries are packed with antioxidants, which are thought to have a role in preventing or delaying cell damage that can open the door to certain diseases and conditions,” explains Giuliana D. Noratto Stevens, PhD, research associate at Texas A&M College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and advisor to the Northwest Cherry Growers. Added bonus: cherries are also high in the antioxidant vitamin C, which promotes collagen production and can therefore benefit skin health.
2. May Play a Role in Cancer Prevention
“Research has shown that compounds found in sweet cherries inhibit the growth of cancer cells in vitro, including cells responsible for breast, colon, liver, lung, pancreas and skin cancers,” says Noratto. Stevens. “Dark sweet cherries contain phenolic acids, flavonoids and anthocyanins, which have been shown to prevent breast cancer cells from multiplying and invading surrounding tissues. The compounds target certain cell signaling pathways, which have the effect of promoting apoptosis of breast cancer cells and discouraging their invasive behavior.”
3. May Fight Symptoms of Arthritis and Gout
According to Department of Agriculture researchers who reviewed 29 studies, both tart and sweet cherries have been shown to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation. This is good news for people with inflammatory conditions like arthritis and gout. Additional studies have indicated that drinking cherry juice may reduce uric acid levels, which would reduce the number of gout flares, although more research is needed to make a strong recommendation in this regard.
4. May Help Physical Recovery
Cherries contain anti-inflammatory properties in addition to their antioxidants. Studies indicate that the combination of the two helps muscle recovery after exercise to relieve pain. “Sweet cherries offer an abundance of health benefits and can be an excellent natural aid for athletic recovery, decreasing muscle soreness. Several studies involving athletes suggest that consuming cherries can reduce muscle soreness and also help to recover the loss of strength.“, says Kelly Pritchett, PhD, RD, CSSD, associate professor of nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University. They are also thought to work similarly to naproxen and ibuprofen to help reduce inflammation. “By incorporating fresh, frozen, or dried cherries into their diet, fitness fanatics can recover faster for the next workout,” adds Pritchett.
5. May Promote Restful Sleep
Cherries are one of the few fruits that contain melatonin, which is a natural hormone produced by your body and also a dietary supplement that can help with insomnia. Cherries can help boost your natural melatonin levels, and studies indicate that tart cherry juice is an effective treatment for insomnia. It is also believed to help people stay asleep longer due to the increased presence of tryptophan.
6. May Benefit Cardiovascular Health
In a review of several studies, research indicates that fruits high in anthocyanins, such as cherries, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because they may lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and raise HDL cholesterol (” good”), among other potential benefits. Cherries also contain potassium and minimal amounts of sodium, and foods that contain a combination of more potassium and less sodium may reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, according to the CDC.
7. May Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Cherries are considered a low glycemic index food and contain fiber, two factors that can have a positive effect on blood sugar. A recent study indicated that the consumption of cherries is associated with a reduced risk of metabolic disorders linked to type 2 diabetes.
How to use cherries
To reap the benefits of cherries’ nutrient-dense capabilities, you may be wondering how many cherries should you eat per day. Our experts recommend approximately a cup of fresh or frozen cherries and a quarter cup of dried cherries.
Cherries are great on their own, but there are tons of other creative culinary ways to enjoy them. You can toss dried cherries into your favorite salad, add fresh cherries to a cheese board, or roast sweet cherries to serve over yogurt. The ways to enjoy cherries are endless, and you can use this popular fruit in virtually any recipe that calls for dried fruit or fresh berries.
Some of our favorite ways to use them include:
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