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Amazing Benefits of Cherries (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits of Cherries (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

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.

1. Cherries Slow the Aging Process

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.

2. Cherries Ease Muscle Pain after a Workout

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.

3. Cherries are Good for Joint Health

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.

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4. Cherries Boost Your Memory

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.

5. Cherries Control Blood Sugar if You are Diabetic

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.

6. Cherries Help with Weight Loss

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.

7. Cherries Give You a Good Night’s Sleep

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.

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8. Cherries Protect Your Heart Health

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.

Cherries are Easy to Work into Your Diet

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:

Fresh Cherry Tart

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    Cherry Parfaits

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      Fresh Cherry Quick Bread

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      chocolate-cherry-banana-bread-recipe

        Cherry Smoothie

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          Antioxidant Cherry Fruit Salad

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            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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            Brian Wu

            Health Writer, Author

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            Last Updated on July 10, 2020

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

            We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

            So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

            Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

            What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

            Boundaries are limits

            —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

            Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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            Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

            Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

            Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

            How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

            Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

            1. Self-Awareness Comes First

            Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

            You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

            To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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            You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

            • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
            • When do you feel disrespected?
            • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
            • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
            • When do you want to be alone?
            • How much space do you need?

            You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

            2. Clear Communication Is Essential

            Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

            Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

            3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

            Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

            That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

            Sample language:

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            • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
            • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
            • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
            • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
            • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
            • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
            • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

            Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

            4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

            Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

            Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

            Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

            We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

            It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

            It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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            Final Thoughts

            Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

            Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

            Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

            The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

            Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

            Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

            They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

            Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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