12 Amazing Health Benefits of Cherries
When you think of cherries, what comes to mind? Perhaps you thought about an ice-cream topping, or maybe you briefly considered a sweet beverage garnish, as in a Shirley temple. What you definitely did not consider is that this beautiful, incredibly tasty fruit is also astoundingly good for you. “Delicious” and “good for you” may seem mutually exclusively in most cases, but behold the benefits of the cherry:
Health Benefits of Cherries
1. Cherries are packed with antioxidants. – If you’ve read widely about antioxidants in general, then you surely know how important having plenty of them is for your overall health. The specific type of antioxidant contained in cherries is anthocyanin, the benefits of which are numerous. It may cut your risk of various cancers, bacterial infections, diabetes, and more.
2. Cherries are one of the few commonly available foods that contain melatonin. – Melatonin, a chemical produced in the brain which regulates our body’s natural sleep cycles and rhythms, is necessary for leading a balanced life. Often, the production of melatonin can be suppressed by stress and various other factors. In effect, cherries can help toward keeping your sleep cycle consistent.
3. Cherries keep your heart and other vital organs healthy. – A study from the University of Michigan conducted in 2007 with laboratory rats found that cherries confer benefits to many of our vital organs. Researchers found that rats who had consumed a diet rich in tart cherry powder had significantly lower amount of cholesterol, less blood sugar, low storage of fat in the liver, and higher levels of a molecule that controls levels of fat and also, sugar in the body.
4. Cherries are a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. – For a long time now cherries have been known to contain properties that act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Especially for those with developing arthritis, cherries may just be what the doctor ordered.
5. Cherries contain substantial amounts of fiber. – Like many fruits and vegetables, cherries are filled with fiber, which is essential in promoting a healthy digestive system. Including cherries in your diet also protects you from cancers related to the digestive system like rectal and colon cancers.
6. Cherries are a good source of Vitamin C. – Even if you aren’t health buff, you still likely know full well what an important part vitamin C plays in having a healthy diet. The substantial quantity of vitamin C found in cherries boosts your immune system, warding off aggravating winter colds, and it also fights hypertension, cataracts, and excessively high levels of lead in the bloodstream.
7. Cherries are good source of potassium. – Potassium is one nutrient of which many people are particularly deprived simply because most common foods found in the typical (particularly American) diet are naturally lacking. Cherries happened to be packed with potassium, which helps stabilize blood sugar, improves brain function, and eases anxiety and stress.
8. Cherries aid in weight management. – Cherries can be a great addition to your weight loss diet. The fiber and nutrients in cherries can give you something to snack on that will help you feel full for longer periods of time, eliminating the desire for unhealthy, sugary foods later in the day.
9. Cherries may improve memory. – According to this list featured on the Overcoming Learning Disabilities website, cherries are a top contender of foods that improve memory. The powerful antioxidants found in cherries help battle free radicals, which increase blood flow to the brain, resulting in improved memory.
10. Cherries are a good source of Vitamin A. – Along with Vitamin C, cherries are likewise packed with Vitamin A, which confers its own special set of health benefits. Vitamin A strengthens bones and teeth, improves the quality of your skin and hair, lowers cholesterol, and prevents urinary stones, among other benefits.
11. Cherries are an essential source of beta carotene. – Closely related to Vitamin A, the rich sources of beta carotene found in cherries help prevent a host of diseases included heart disease, macular degeneration, depression associated with Alzheimer’s, and more. Like Vitamin A, beta carotene improves vision and skin.
12. Cherries are a fun, kid-friendly snack. – While not a health benefit per se, any parent knows how difficult it can be to get your kids to eat a healthy, nutritious diet. Kids crave food that are look interesting and taste good. With their bright colors and sweet and tart taste, cherries are the perfect kid-friendly snack.
Now of course, the best way to reap the health benefits of cherries is to eat them in their raw form as part of an overall balanced diet. While maraschino cherries can be great occasional additives to desserts and the like, tart cherries are best if you wish to focus on your health.