Cherries: Superfood You Should Be Eating
Cherries: Superfood You Should Be Eating

by Sarah Baker

Packed with anthocyanins (antioxidants), vitamin C, beta carotene, fiber and potassium -- and providing a natural source of melatonin -- this anti-inflammatory fruit has exciting research to back up its many health benefits.

You know that moment when you are grocery shopping in the produce section, you see a fruit or veggie that you haven't seen in a while and it makes you so happy? That's how I feel about cherries. Not only do they remind me of drinking cherry beer on my family's vacations to Door County, but they are one of my favorite superfood snacks.

Packed with anthocyanins (antioxidants), vitamin C, beta carotene, fiber and potassium -- and providing a natural source of melatonin -- this anti-inflammatory fruit has exciting research to back up its many health benefits.

Sweet varieties such as Bing and Lambert are two of the most commonly consumed cherries; plus a sour cherry variety, Montmorency, which is popularly sold as a tart cherry juice. However, when it comes to the health benefits of cherries, we are NOT talking about maraschino cherries used in specialty drinks and dessert toppings, as they are processed and dyed (from the Royal Anne variety).

The Research

  • Michigan State University conducted research on cherries and its lead researcher observed: "It is as good as ibuprofen and some of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs."
  • Research from Louisiana State University has shown that consuming tart Montmorency cherry juice two times a day helped insomniacs get an additional 1.5 hours of sleep per night.
  • Oregon Health & Science University research suggests that tart cherries have the "highest anti-inflammatory content of any food."
  • The USDA Agricultural Research Service study suggests that "natural compounds in plump, juicy Bing cherries may reduce painful arthritic inflammation" and "may also help lessen the severity of other inflammatory conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or cancer."

Easy Ways to Get the Benefits of Cherries

Fresh Cherries:

You can find cherries at farmers markets and local grocers, whether sweet or tart -- though when eaten raw, the sweet cherry varieties taste the best.

Frozen Cherry Smoothie:

Just blend a cup of frozen, unsweetened cherries into your favorite banana smoothie to reap the benefits. For a chocolate/cherry taste, try adding 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder. (You can usually find frozen cherries in your grocer's freezer any time of year.)

Tart Cherry Juice:

Drink cherry juice or concentrate. Check out the various brands at your local health food store or specialty grocer. Read the label for suggested daily amount and be aware that concentrated cherry juice has extra calories and sugar.

Healthy Toppings:

Drizzle over your favorite dessert, fruit or whole-grain breakfast cereal; or add a spoonful to cooked oatmeal, yogurt and salad dressings.

 

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Article: Copyright © 2016, Studio One

"Cherries: Superfood You Should Be Eating"

 

 

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