Summer is officially here which means that it’s time to indulge in a bowl of sweet, round, deep red cherries, which are often considered as America’s favorite ‘super food’.
These tiny stone fruits which are generally in season from June till July, come in two different varieties: tart and sweet. While sweet cherries are commonly eaten fresh or used as a topping on desserts, tart cherries are much more sour in taste and often used for cooking and juicing purposes.
No matter what kind of cherries you’re a fan of, these little rubies of nature are one of the healthiest fruits on earth with several health protective benefits.
A single cup of cherries has less than 90 calories and fulfills up to 15 per cent of your daily vitamin C requirements. But that’s not the only reason why you should be eating this fruit; here are five more reasons why you should be enjoying cherries on a regular basis.
They Contain Plenty of Antioxidants
Like most other berries, cherries are an excellent source of antioxidants with potent anti-inflammatory compounds that fight aging and strengthen the immune system.
These little stone fruits have great cancer and disease fighting properties and are often considered an excellent diet food because of its low glycemic index. Apart from reducing diabetes and obesity risk, eating cherries can also keep you looking youthful for longer – cheers to that!
They Lower Diabetes Risk
Several studies have shown that eating cherries reduces the risk of developing diabetes, and managing the condition in those who have already developed it.
Because cherries are one of the lowest ranking fruits in terms of their glycemic index, doctors often recommend diabetic patients to incorporate them in their diet. These ruby-colored fruits are sweet in taste but don’t trigger dangerous spikes or crashes in your blood glucose levels, which makes them beneficial for managing diabetes.
Cherries Help You Sleep Better
Cherries, specifically the tart kind, are one of the most rare food sources of a sleep hormone called melatonin which helps us rest better at night and promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
A study conducted on participants suffering from insomnia showed that consuming an eight-ounce glass of cherry juice made with tart cherries in the morning and evening helped insomniacs get almost one and a half hours of additional sleep at night.
They Give Relief from Arthritis
One of the several health benefits of cherries is that it helps manage pain in patients who suffer from osteoarthritis and reduce the disease-related symptoms. Patients seeking treatment for Arthritis are often advised to drink pure tart cherry juice every day to alleviate some of the joint pain.
They Reduce Cramps After Exercise
Cherries are a great natural pain reliever which can reduce cramping after an intense exercise session. Drinking a glass of cherry juice as a post workout snack helps with muscle recovery as well as protects inner organs and cells from any wear and tear caused by intense physical activity.
They Reduce Cholesterol
Researchers have found that drinking cherry juice is beneficial for reducing bad LDL cholesterol inside the body which is linked with dangerous health conditions like heart attack and stroke.
Lowering LDL cholesterol by only one per cent reduces the risk of heart diseases by 2 per cent which makes drinking juice all the more important for stronger, healthier heart.
How to Get the Maximum Benefits Out of Cherries
Sweet cherries are in season right now but simply eating a bowl-full of them will not help you reap their nutritional benefits. Doctors say that it is the sour cherries, commonly found in the frozen section or in the form of freeze-dried powder. Most supermarkets also carry pure, natural tart cherry juice or packets of dried cherries free of added sugars and preservatives.
Sour cherries, whether whole in in the form of juice, can be added to smoothies or oats for breakfast and even chopped into salads and stir-frys. A splash of tart cherry juice added to sparking water makes a great alternative to store-bought flavored waters without any sugar or additives.
If you’re suffering from joint pain, cramping or insomnia, drink sour cherry juice straight up to reduce pain and help you sleep better at night.