11 Health Benefits of Cherries
1. Protects Against Diabetes
Sweet cherries have a low glycemic index of 22 — lower than apricots (57), grapes (46),peaches (42), blueberries (40) or plums (39). This makes them a better snack than many other fruits, especially for diabetics.
2. Promotes Better Sleep
Tossing and turning at night? Cherry juice to the rescue! Drink cherry juice 30 minutes after waking and 30 minutes before your evening meal. In a study, participants boosted their melatonin intake by following this routine. Cherries are a good source of melatonin, which helps us regulate our sleep cycles. Cherries have also been found to help with jet lag.
Note: there is a higher level of melatonin in tart cherries compared to sweet cherries.
3. Decreases Belly Fat
Researchers found that rats who were fed whole tart cherry powder, in a high fat diet, didn’t gain as much weight or body fat as rats who did not eat tart cherry powder.
4. Helps Ward Off Alzheimer’s
The Alzheimer’s Association includes cherries as one of the memory boosting foods because they are rich in antioxidants.
5. Reduces Risk of Stroke
Tart cherries provide cardiovascular benefits. The anthocyanins, which are the pigments giving tart cherries its red color, may activate PPAR which regulates genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism. This reduces the risk of high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes, according to research from the University of Michigan Health System.
6. Slows the Aging of Skin
Cherries have the highest antioxidant level of any fruit. Antioxidants help the body fight the free radicals that make us look old. Drinking one glass of tart cherry juice daily slows down the aging process, according to Scientists from the Michigan State University. Cherry juice is also recommended as an alternative treatment for other skin conditions.
7. Lowers Risk of Gout Attacks
Eating cherries lowers risk of gout attacks by 35 percent in a study with 633 gout patients, done by by Yuqing Zhang, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University. Gout patients who consumed cherries over a two-day period had a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks, compared to those who did not eat the 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. Reduces Muscle Pain
A cup and a half of tart cherries or one cup of tart cherry juice can reduce muscle inflammation and soreness studies suggest. A group of marathon runners drank tart cherry juice twice daily for seven days before their race. The group who drank the cherry juice group experienced less muscle pain after the race than those who drank another fruit drink.
9. Helps Regulate Blood Pressure
Cherries are very high in potassium, which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension. The phytosterols in cherries help reduce bad cholesterol levels.
10. Helps with osteoarthritis relief
The pain and discomfort of swollen joints were reduced when tart cherry juice was consumed twice a day for three weeks in a study of twenty women ages 40 to 70 with inflammatory osteoarthritis.
11. Helps to Prevent Colon Cancer
Substances in tart cherries can reduce the formation of the carcinogenic chemicals that develop from the charring of hamburger. Researchers 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.