Cherries are oh-so-delicious and they also have some pretty spectacular health benefits. Here are the top 5 benefits:
1. Help Your Heart
Anthocyanins, which are the pigments found in red, tart cherries, may activate help to activate PPAR (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor) which regulates the genes that are involved in fat and glucose metabolism. By adding more cherries to your diet (specifically tart cherries) you can help to reduce high cholesterol and blood pressure as well as reducing the risk for diabetes.
2. Great for Diabetics
Unlike many other tree fruits (we’re looking at you, peaches), cherries have a relatively low glycemic index, which makes them a great choice for desserts and smoothies, as well as a topping for salads or anywhere you need a little sweetness.
3. Help Inflammation
Cherries are chock full of antioxidants. The antioxidants found specifically in cherries (the redder, the better) helps to slow down the enzymes that are commonly associated with inflammation. What this means is that cherries can help you manage the pain that is tied to inflammatory ailments – such as arthritis. If arthritis isn’t a problem, but you frequently suffer from muscle cramps (commonly associated with athletes), try drinking tart cherry juice as the anti-inflammatory effect should reduce muscle cramping, aches, and pains.
4. Fruit and Fiber
Cherries are a great source of fiber (from pectin). Starting your day with some cherries and the associated fiber is a good choice – as it will help to maintain a healthy digestive system and keep your blood sugar levels even for even energy throughout the day.
5. Rest and Refresh
Did you know that cherries are a natural source of melatonin? The same melatonin helps to tell your body that it’s time to go to sleep. If you’re finding that it’s hard to doze off at night, grab a handful of cherries to eat about 30 minutes before you lay down and see if it makes a difference. If you happen to travel frequently, eating cherries can help you handle jet lag. As a side note, tart cherries have a higher concentration of melatonin than sweet cherries – in case you’re looking to maximize your melatonin.
Fresh cherries are great but are only available at certain times of the year. The rest of the time you can find whole (pitted) cherries in the frozen fruit section. Add cherries to breakfast, smoothies and salads – as well as incorporating dried cherries into the same meals as well as baked goods.