No time to load up on fruits? Then consider at least adding more cherries to your diet! You can eat them fresh with no preparation and cherries — like other berries — are considered to be one of the healthiest fruits, giving you more bang for your buck with every bite. Read on to find out more about the benefits of cherries.
While cherries aren’t a fountain of youth, they do have anti-aging properties. How? Anxiety, lack of sleep, poor diet and even exposure to harmful chemicals in the environment can put stress on cells and actually speed up the aging process. Cherries, however, are rich in several antioxidant compounds which actually reduce stress on the cells throughout your body and can help slow this process down.
Ever wake up the day after a work out and simply hurt all over? Post-workout muscle soreness can be difficult to deal with — and even discourage you from being as active as you should be. Cherry juice, however, can help your body recover from even a strenuous exercise session due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In one study, marathon runners who drank a glass of cherry juice daily for one week before their race reported less muscle pain than those who did not.
It’s not just your muscles than benefit from cherries! They are good for your joint health, too, which can help you stay fit and active even as you get older. Again, the anti-inflammatory properties of cherry juice are responsible for this. One study found that women between the ages of 40 and 70 who drank cherry juice twice a day for 3 weeks reported significantly less joint pain and stiffness.
Memory loss might not seem important to you now — but this loss, related to Alzheimer’s or dementia, is the number one reason why older people are placed in nursing homes and other facilities. And most researchers believe that these disease actually start decades before the first signs and symptoms appear. The anti-oxidants in cherry juice, however, can protect your brain and the Alzheimer’s Association itself recommends cherry juice as a memory-boosting food.
Around 28 million people in the United States have diabetes — and this number is only predicted to go up in the future. A healthy diet can help – but not all fruits are created equal and some should be limited or avoided due to high sugar content. Cherries, however, are an ideal diabetic food. They are low on the glycemic index, which means that they do not spike up blood sugar levels and their anthocyanins have been shown in clinical studies to raise the body’s natural insulin levels.
Long hours at the desk, fast food and too many high-calorie snacks can equal a problem with weight. If you are struggling to shed those extra pounds, then consider adding cherries to your diet on a regular basis. They are nearly 75% water and give you 3 grams of fibers for each serving: fiber and water both will help decrease your appetite and make you feel fuller for longer, making it easier to go on a low-calorie diet without suffering from hunger pains.
Americans just don’t get enough sleep. Stress, hectic schedules, balancing work and family life can all leave you wide-awake and wired when you settle down at night. Cherry juice can help. They are a great source of melatonin, a natural hormone which regulates sleep-wake cycles, and in one study, people who drank 30 milliliters of cherry juice after waking up and 30 millilters more just before dinner reported better and longer sleep and fewer episodes of waking up in the night.
Heart disease is the number one killer in America. High cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, excess weight and other factors put people at greater risk for serious problems like heart attacks. But cherries — and cherry juice — can help protect the health of your heart. They are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, compounds which clinical studies have shown can help reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, lowering your risk of cardiac disease.
Fresh cherries, eaten “as is”, are delicious, of course, but there are many ways that you can easily work them into a variety of delicious recipes, such as the ones below:
So consider adding cherries to your diet today. From a healthier heart to a great night’s sleep, the health benefits of cherries make them an important part of an overall healthy diet.
Featured photo credit: Nitr via shutterstock.com
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