When you think of cherries, we’re willing to bet that “amazing superfood” doesn’t immediately jump to mind. You’d be surprised to know that cherries are one of the most nutrient-rich fruits available! From fighting cancer to helping you get a good night’s sleep, cherries are one food that you shouldn’t be underestimating. Here are a few reasons why:
- Sleep better. Tart cherries contain melatonin, which is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Cherries increase melatonin levels in the blood, therefore improving the way you sleep. Try cherry juice for a fun new nightcap!
- Lose weight. A cup of cherries is less than 100 calories and packs 3 grams of fiber, which will keep you feeling full longer. They also contain many B-vitamins which are aid metabolism and convert nutrients into energy.
- Gets gout out. Cherries can help mitigate the intense symptoms of arthritis and gout. The pain from arthritis is due to excess uric acid in the bloodstream. A study done by the USDA found that uric acid can be reduced by as much as 15% by eating two cups of Bing cherries. 1
- Reduce muscle soreness. Cherries provide natural osteoarthritis relief, and can even help relieve post-workout soreness. Studies suggest a cup and a half of tart cherries or one cup of tart cherry juice can significantly reduce muscle inflammation and soreness.3 Another plus—if you cut down on post-workout soreness, you can feel free to exercise more often, contributing to overall weight loss and a healthier lifestyle!
- Cancer prevention. Cherries contain a compound called perillyl alcohol (POH), which is useful in reducing the occurrence of cancer. Researchers found that POH stops the growth of cancer cells by depriving them of the proteins they need to grow.2 Cherries, along with many other berries, are also a rich source of antioxidants, which replace free radicals in your body before they can cause any damage to cells.
Of all the varieties of cherries, tart cherries have been found to have the most significant health benefits. While they’re in-season now, they’re also readily available in freeze-dried, frozen and juice form year- round!
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1. United States Department of Agriculture: “Fresh Cherries May Help Arthritis Sufferers” http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/may04/cherry0504.htm
2. American Institue for Cancer Research “Foods that Fight Cancer” http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/tab-content/cherries-research.h…
3. Connolly DA, McHugh MP, Padilla-Zakour OI, Carlson L, Sayers SP. Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. Br J Sports Med 2006;40:679-683.