Cherries are one of the most favorite fruits, and for good reason. They’re not only delicious but also pack vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds with powerful health effects. They are one of the most popular fruits to eat as is- simply wash and eat!
Consuming them, especially tart cherry products like juice and powder, may improve athletic performance and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and soreness. Here are some popular reasons to include them in your diet:
Make stress eating healthy eating
If stress eating is an issue, reach for sweet cherries. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that they are rock stars when it comes to their glycemic index of just 22 (on a scale of 0 to 100, with less than 55 considered low). Plus, about 2.5g of fiber in each cup means glucose is released more slowly, helping to stabilize sugar levels. Crunchy, cold and sweet, fresh cherries make an ideal snack fresh from the fridge or frozen.
Take the pressure off blood pressure
Eating sweet cherries has been associated with lower blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic measures. Consuming sweet cherries is correlated with a decrease in vasoconstrictors, but even better, the fruit increases the effectiveness of compounds that help widen blood vessels for easier blood flow.
All cherries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. This high antioxidant content may help combat oxidative stress, a condition that is linked to multiple chronic diseases and premature aging
Cherries can reduce inflammation
Research shows that the dark red of sweet cherries comes from anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties that rival NSAIDs like ibuprofen. These powerful antioxidants have been shown in studies of sweet cherry consumption to help reduce oxidative stress that contributes to inflammation.
They are especially high in polyphenols, a large group of plant chemicals that help fight cellular damage, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health.
Get a good night’s sleep
Eating cherries or drinking tart cherry juice may help improve your sleep quality. These sleep-promoting benefits may be attributed to the fruit’s high concentration of plant compounds. Additionally, cherries contain melatonin, a substance that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
A study in 20 people showed that those who drank tart cherry juice concentrate for 7 days experienced significant increases in melatonin levels, sleep duration, and sleep quality, compared to a placebo.
Similarly, a 2-week study in older adults with insomnia found that drinking 1 cup (240 ml) of tart cherry juice before bed increased sleep time by 84 minutes.
However, these studies use concentrated cherry products. It’s unclear whether eating fresh cherries before bed would have the same effect.
Ultimately, more studies are needed to better understand how consuming cherries and cherry products may benefit sleep.
Source: NW Cherry Growers