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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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        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 September 20, 2018

            How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

            How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

            Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

            If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

            1. Breathe

            The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

            • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
            • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
            • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

            Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

            2. Loosen up

            After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

            Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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            3. Chew slowly

            Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

            Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

            Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

            4. Let go

            Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

            The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

            It’s not. Promise.

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            Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

            Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

            21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

            5. Enjoy the journey

            Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

            Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

            6. Look at the big picture

            The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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            Will this matter to me…

            • Next week?
            • Next month?
            • Next year?
            • In 10 years?

            Hint: No, it won’t.

            I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

            Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

            7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

            You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

            Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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            8. Practice patience every day

            Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

            • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
            • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
            • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

            Final thoughts

            Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

            Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

            Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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