Naturally sweet and packed with flavor, fruit is nature’s dessert. Fruit is refreshing, convenient, easy-to-prepare, and provides a healthier sweet-tooth-satisfying alternative to insulin-spiking processed treats.
Along with berries, cherries are an ideal choice when it comes to sweet fruits. They’re relatively low in sugar and high in antioxidants, potassium, quercetin, and melatonin. They’re also a good source of fiber and vitamin C. The nutrients in cherries help fight cancer, cool inflammation, decrease post-workout pain, reduce the risk of gout, decrease body fat, support heart health, reduce type 2 diabetes, reduce jet lag, and promote restful sleep.
The antioxidant, vitamin C, fiber and carotenoid content in cherries help prevent and fight cancer.
Ditch the bottle of pills and pack of frozen peas! When it comes to fighting inflammation, tart cherries are your BFF. Medical News Today says, “Tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food…” Cherries lower inflammation in the body by reducing uric acid, nitric oxide and C-reactive protein levels. If you’re suffering from any type of inflammatory condition, such as autoimmune disease, arthritis, osteoarthritis, heart disease, etc., cherries are a food you should definitely include.
Decrease Post-Workout Pain
Cherries can reduce post-workout muscle inflammation, pain and soreness. For maximum benefits, add a dozen fresh/frozen tart cherries or 1 cup of tart cherry juice to your post-workout protein shake. Runners and endurance athletes can benefit from drinking tart cherry juice 7 days before and during a race or event.
Reduce Risk of Gout
Eating only a dozen cherries a day can help lower the risk of gout by 35 percent. Eating up to three servings of cherries for two days can reduce the risk of gout by 50 percent.
Support Healthy Metabolism
Consuming tart cherries may activate PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activating receptors) that support the metabolism of fat and glucose, which can reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Superb for Sleep
Skip the sleeping drugs and boost melatonin levels naturally by enjoying a glass of tart cherry juice before bed. This may also improve sleep duration and quality, which is especially helpful with jet lag and travel.
With a short peak season, from May to July, finding locally grown fresh cherries can be challenging, but are well worth the flavor and nutrients. Frozen cherries or cherry juice are good options the rest of the year. Always buy organic cherries to reduce your risk of toxins. Avoid canned, jarred and processed cherries with additives, coloring or sugars added. Keep dried cherries to a minimum due to their high sugar content.
Sweet cherries: 100 g or 12 cherries = 63 calories, 16 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 13 g sugars, Glycemic Load 5
Tart/sour cherries: 100 g or 12 cherries = 50 calories, 12 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 8 g sugars, Glycemic Load 4
How To Include
For maximum health benefits, eat 12 cherries or 1/2-1 cup of tart cherry juice daily. Enjoy cherries by the handful with almonds, blended in a chocolate protein shake or mixed with Greek yogurt/kefir. Cherries taste especially delicious paired with almonds, dark chocolate, lemon juice or zest, vanilla, apricots, Brie, goat cheese, ricotta, cinnamon, coconut, creme fraiche, duck, balsamic, red wine, and yogurt.