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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

          Balsamic-Grilled-Cherry-Blueberry-and-Goat-Cheese-Salad-6

            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

            More by this author

            Brian Wu

            Health Writer, Author

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            Last Updated on September 18, 2020

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

            Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

            1. Exercise Daily

            It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

            If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

            Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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            If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

            2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

            Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

            One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

            This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

            3. Acknowledge Your Limits

            Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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            Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

            Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

            4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

            Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

            The basic nutritional advice includes:

            • Eat unprocessed foods
            • Eat more veggies
            • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
            • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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            Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

              5. Watch Out for Travel

              Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

              This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

              If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

              6. Start Slow

              Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

              If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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              7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

              Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

              My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

              If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

              I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

              Final Thoughts

              Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

              Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

              More Tips on Getting in Shape

              Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

              Reference

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