We can comfortably say that cherries are the favorite summer fruit in the United States, where around 370 million pounds are grown each year. They are often regarded as a “dessert” fruit for use in cakes, pies, or even as a garnish for cocktails. But, cherries have an extremely healthy side too, one that may actually offer therapeutic benefits to your health. They help with insomnia, joint pain, belly fat, and much more. Read on.
1. Promote Better Sleep
Have sleeping problems? Cherry juice to the rescue! Cherries are a rich source of melatonin – a hormone produced by the pineal gland which helps us regulate our sleep cycles. Drink cherry juice 30 minutes after you wake up, and 30 minutes before dinner. According to a study, participants boosted their melatonin levels by following this routine.
Note: Tart cherries contain a higher level of melatonin compared to sweet cherries.
2. Promote Weight Loss
In a study, researchers found that rats who received whole tart cherry powder for 90 days, mixed into a high-fat diet, didn’t gain as much weight or body fat as rats that didn’t receive cherries. The researchers associated tart cherry intake with reduced concentration of fats in the blood and abdominal fat weight.
The blood of the rats also showed much lower levels of inflammation, which has been linked to diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
3. Protects Against Diabetes
Sweet cherries have a low glycemic level of 22 – which is much lower compared to apricots (57), grapes (46), peaches (42), blueberries (40), or plums (39). This makes cherries a better snack than many other fruits, especially for people suffering from diabetes.
4. Helps Ward Off Alzheimer’s
Because they’re rich in antioxidants, the Alzheimer’s Association has listed cherries as one of the memory boosting foods.
5. Reduce Risk of Stroke
Tart cherries provide excellent cardiovascular benefits. According to a research from the University of Michigan Health Systems, the anthocyanins (the pigments that give tart cherries its red color) may activate PPAR which regulates genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism. This reduces the risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
6. Slows Down the Aging of the Skin
According to a study from the Michigan State University, drinking one glass of tart cherry juice daily slows down the aging process. This is because cherries have the highest antioxidant levels of any other fruit, and antioxidants help the body fight free radicals that make us look old.
7. Helps With Gout
In a study with 633 gout patients, Yuqing Zhang, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University, found that eating cherries reduces the risk of gout attacks by 35 percent. The gout patients who consumed cherries over a two-day period had a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks, compared to those participants who did not eat cherries.
“Our findings indicate that consuming cherries or cherry extract lowers the risk of gout attack, the gout flare risk continued to decrease with increasing cherry consumption, up to three servings over two days,” said Zhang.
8. Prevent Colon Cancer
The compounds in tart cherries reduce the formation of carcinogenic chemicals that develop from the charring of hamburger. In a study, Scientists added tart cherries to ground beef patties. “The fat contents of the cherry patties were, as expected, lower than that of the control patties, whereas the moisture contents were greater. Cherry tissue will not only slow down the oxidation deterioration of meat lipids, but will also substantially reduce the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines,” reported J. Ian Gray, PhD, Professor of Food Science at Michigan State.
9. 20 Cherries are Better Than Aspirin for Pain
In a study published in the Journal of Natural Products, researchers found that the anthocyanins could also help relieve pain more effectively than aspirin. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants that can prevent oxidative damage and also inhibit enzymes called cyclooxygenase -1 and -2 (Cox 1 and 2), which is similar in the way anti-inflammatory drugs try to reduce pain.
The lead researcher, Muralee G. Nair, Ph.D., Professor at Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, took note of this cherry effect. “It is as good as ibuprofen and some of the nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs.” He then added that his lab results indicate that consuming 20 cherries could provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Now you have 9 good reasons to start eating this superfood today!