Cherries are a fruit that is sweet, low in calories and have a number of benefits for your body. Because cherries have such a sweet flavor, they make a healthy substitute for snacks such as candy or cakes. Cherries also make an excellent ingredient for a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
What is in a cherry?
Cherries contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C as well as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron and protein. Darker cherries have more iron and can be effective in preventing anemia.
Cherries are full of antioxidants. These antioxidants have a number of different benefits, including the ability to prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as fighting off free radicals. The antioxidants found in cherries also work to slow the signs of aging. All cherries contain their own antioxidants but sour cherries have the most, beating out even blueberries with their antioxidant content.
A cherry is made up of more than 75 percent water. This water content makes cherries a perfect weight loss food as foods that are high in water and low in calories keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time than foods and drinks that are higher in calories. Cherries are also loaded with soluble fibre. This water dissolvable fibre helps accelerate weight loss and reduces your cholesterol levels by slowing its absorption into your blood.
Cherries naturally contain melatonin, a natural substance that is typically produced by your brain to regulate your sleep cycles. While your body does have the ability to produce its own melatonin, it typically does so only in darkness and not everyone is able to produce all the melatonin that is needed. Factors such as the artificial lighting that is found in many offices and homes limit how much melatonin is produced by your body. Eating cherries before bed acts as an all natural sleep aid that works by replacing some of the lost melatonin.
Cherries contain a substance known as anthocyanins. This substance is effective in relieving pain by blocking out the inflammatory enzymes that cause it. According to the California Cherry Advisory Board, eating 20 cherries is 10 times more effective than taking aspirin. Anthocyanins also work to relieve the pain associated with arthritis and gout. Cherries also contain boron, which helps increase bone health when consumed in conjunction with magnesium and calcium.
Cherries increase kidney function and are therefore also a diuretic. They expel accumulated urates and urea from our body. As such, cherries are beneficial for those suffering from rheumatism, gout, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and osteoarthritis.
The cherry is also a friend to the liver. Eating cherries can reduce the swelling in a liver that has been enlarged due to excessive medication intake, intoxication or the presences of various diseases, assisting the liver in healing. Over time, cherries can help liver function return to normal, increasing the secretion of bile and strengthening the digestive system. Cherries are also excellent at expelling nicotine from the body
Researchers have found sweet cherries to be cancer fighters thanks to their high level of an antioxidant called cyanidin. Cyanidin is an important free radical scavenger and may also promote cellular differentiation, an important process in the body’s fight against cancerous cells.